I Actually Used Social Networking to Network in Real Life!

Yesterday I was in London for work and was going to be spending the night twiddling my thumbs in my hotel room so I sent out a message on Twitter to that effect and asked if anyone wanted to meet up for a pint, I got a direct message from a friend whom I see once in a blue moon saying he had to be somewhere later but he was free till 6:30, I agreed and we met up, and had a pretty good if brief catch up.

I then decided to go for a wonder, I’ve been messing around with Foursquare recently trying to establish a rhyme or reason behind it, so far it’s just been a mechanism for accruing imaginary digital badges as I don’t know enough people on Foursquare for it to be useful, in fact I was fooled by foursquare when I reached Glasgow airport into thinking a friend was at the airport only to discover that he had been there a day earlier.

Anyway… I was randomly wondering about London, a city which I don’t know very well, I checked in in a few places and noticed a notification that a friend was nearby so I sent them a text asking if they wanted to meet up and they said yes so we did.

To cut a long/boring story short I managed to meet people in real life because of two different social networks, sure I’ve used Facebook and Twitter to arrange meeting up with people or events, but it’s very rare that I’ve actually used it for such impromptu meetings especially in a city where I don’t know quite so many people.

I’m more surprised at having used Foursquare for this than I am Twitter, I think the issue with 4SQ is that it requires an awful lot more effort, you have to actually check in at each venue, and you have to have a wide enough social circle who use it. This is probably symptomatic of the fact that I only have 18 friends on 4SQ most of them aren’t active and those who are aren’t even in the same country as me let alone the same city. There is also the awkwardness of 4SQ, letting people know exactly where you are leads to them asking if you want to meet up, while I appreciate this is the point of it, it’s also the case that I don’t want everyone I know knowing exactly where I am all the time. Social networking is one of those things you have to balance who you count as a friend and who is merely an acquaintance, there are lots of people I’m friends with on Facebook that  I’ve not seen in years and with good reason, it’s not that I dislike them or don’t count them as friends it’s just that I don’t necessarily want them to be able to track my every movement and meet up with me at the drop of a hat.

I’d also worry that people would just swing by to wherever I was trying to have a quiet drink or coffee, and disrupt my I don’t know…

I’m not a private person, but I don’t like the idea of people knowing my every move, and yet I obsessive compulsively check into 4SQ wherever I am. Part of me thinks it’s pathetic, I’m chasing some artificial game to get the highest points and the most fake badges, and I’m not sure why I’m doing it…

Help…