If there is something that made me sad upon leaving New England, especially the Boston area, it was missing the amount of meetups for social networking. Since PodCamp opened my eyes, I became more active in the non-knitting realm and was eager for increasing my connections to interesting folks. Now that I have been living in Southwest Virginia for a month, I think folks in New England might not realize how lucky they are in being more advanced both in the technology and the fiber realms.
With my arrival to Blacksburg full of rose-tinted visions, I looked in advance for groups to associate myself. Unfortunately the one group I found on LinkedIn had required membership (as in dues and such) stipulations. I am fine with the requirements, but wish that information was listed up front to avoid confusion. Slowly I found folks to follow on Twitter when on November 20th Dr. Vittorio Bonomo and I attended Modea‘s Social Media Marketing Question and Answer Session in the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech. The presentation was targeted towards those who either taught or attended the college, but there were some other interested folks who were just outside that circle. From that day I had met both Gary Cope and Michael Kiser along with the trio from Modea: Aaron Herrington, Mansi Trivedi, and Mike Cox. That afternoon I met Joseph Rooks, and knew this Twitter group was just the beginning of better things to come.
Because of their tweets, I had discovered a Tweetup on December 1st for Handshake 2.0 by Anne Giles Clelland. Excited about the event, I started Tweeting even more so. (begin /tangent) To explain, a few months back I joined Foursquare. Since Richmond is my currently adopted city, I have been Tweeting about all the places I have been from Blacksburg to Virginia Beach. It seems that I *ahem* have been Tweeting about a LOT of places. According to Foursquare, I am mayor at over 40 venues… (end /tangent)
The evening of Handshake 2.0’s Tweetup at Bull and Bones Brewhaus was to promote its new video. All I can say is that president Anne’s energy is contagious. In her business, she is promoting various folks including the New River Valley Triathlon scheduled for July 2010. While there I met Cameron Nouri, Evangelist of Rackspace and the team of Beth and Corey from The NewVA Corridor Technology Council. Later, dinner for me was the duck wrap and an cold glass of St. Maeve’s stout. I consider the lilting conversation as my dessert. Knowing that I will see many of these folks again, I left a hoppy bunny.
The next night was even more adventurous because Rackspace‘s Software division was hosting (please excuse the pun) a Wine/Cheese party for its anniversary. I saw Cameron, met with Stuart Mease from their HR department, and was delighted to chat with other members of the company like co-founder Pat Matthews. His presentation answered a lot of questions that folks in the community have probably wondered like the number of “Rackers” who were employed, the growth of the company, etc. From the night before, I ran into both Beth and Ronald, and I think we all are looking forward to Rackspace’s next celebration.
My lesson learned from these weeks has been this one: If you are just pining for networking, you cannot sit at home on the computer and Tweet. You have to go out and meet folks to be real. I am determined to do just that in the Southwestern Virginia corridor! =:8