Is it Monday already?
A very generous person gave me an iPad. (I didn't ask why... I was too overwhelmed). So here it is, three days later, and I don't know where the weekend went as I worked out how to install/not install an iPad on my Mac mini G4. (Turns out the G4 doesn't support an iPad.)
In trying to figure this out I spent:
* 2 hours with my kid while we passed the box back and forth, petting it like it was a new kitten in the house
* 3-4 hours of phone calls with friends talking about iPads and how they are enjoying/using theirs
* 3 more hours of calls with family who were wondering how my early days experience felt
* 27 FB and email messages from folks offering thoughts on the G4 system
* not to mention several folks who simply stopped me on the street or the subway as I took the box home to ask me about it.
That's a lot of human interaction for something I haven't got up and running yet!
We're fascinated by the gadgets - even in the box they seem to be a terrific way to start a conversation...
But why am I adding yet another device to my overloaded messenger bag?
Not to be hip or cool... believe me I when you say "so hip it hurts" I'm hitting the age where I hear "my hip, it hurts"... But while I believe that a face-to-face encounter will always bear the best results, not everyone in my circles lives close enough to touch - and certainly there are not enough hours and cups of tea in the day even if you all did.
It's not that the gadgets are replacing the conversation; they are an adjunct to networking. If you need shoes for jogging, for work, for snow, for hiking etc. then you need more than your smile and a handshake for different ways of networking. (for those who cook, it's like having only one pot, one spice and one wooden spoon with which to make every dish...possible but not practical)
You don't have to use these tools every day or have every kind, you need to select what suits your goals/lifestyle. But you can't ignore the need to make room in your cupboards for tools if you are truly trying to build out your community.
The applications (Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, SL, etc.), the devices (iPads; BBs; netbooks, etc.) and the usage (texting, following, tweeting, blogging, emailing, etc.) are a means to eliminating boundaries whether they are geographical, hierarchical or imaginary.
So experiment a little this week. Borrow a tool. Try an application. Put a new gadget in your networking skills.
FYI - You'll notice a new 'counter' on the blog. The blog has been up for 2 years and, yes, I just came around to a counter. So if the number seems weirdly low, it's because I had no way to capture the 1000s of you who actually come and visit my sandbox.