My mother in the US often comments to me: “Oh my, if this was 100 years ago, you would’ve left on a boat and that would have been it. We would just be waiting for a few written letters a year.”
I was born in the US. I moved to the UK in 1997 to be part of a team launching a new weekly publication at my company. (I thought it would be fun to live in London … for a year).
Over those years, my pager turned into a mobile phone. My email at work, turned into WiFi at home. Facebook brought pictures of babies and new pets belonging to people I once sat next to, in biology class, in the late 80s, into my world.
Twitter changed my career as a journalist forever.
Technology made distance a very different reality than it was 100 years ago. Technology has made distance a very different reality than it was even 23 years ago.
Do I sometimes wish I could take my mother out to lunch at a nearby café – instead of chatting on the phone? Yes. Would it be nice to see my best friend’s kids grow up in front of me, instead of on a Facebook post? Of course.
Absolutely no one is arguing that connecting, via technology, is the same or better, than meeting face to face. But thank god we live in a time where technology can bridge the gap for the times when we are unable or not allowed to meet face to face – like now.
We have all been working remotely, working from home, navigating social distancing, and waiting for our masks to arrive via Amazon. We have not been isolated from our colleagues, friends and family with ink soaked into paper as our only connection.
I have a strategy I employ whenever I attend a physical event. I tend to like to ‘walk the floor’ of the Expo hall, alone. Seeing who I can bump into, who I recognize, and who recognizes me. And we have a chat, we reconnect, we make plans. A version of this is when I go to a set networking event and I stand in the middle of the room, alone. Sometimes, it takes seconds, sometimes minutes. I will be approached:
- ‘I know you from Twitter’
- ‘I saw you on stage’
- ‘You seem to be lonely’.
That is how I meet new people … IRL. And that is what is great about a physical event.
Right now, we cannot hold a physical event. The human race in the middle of a global pandemic that effects each of us differently. We have no definite information on when the danger will end, when it will be safe, and when we can plan to meet again.
For now, we have technology. I have written here before, when we went about planning FinTECHTalents Virtual / Spring we didn’t want to push out a Webinar. We wanted a place where we could try and include as much value as possible from our experiences at attending, planning and running physical events.
There will be panels to watch and listen and comment on. There will be Interactive Roundtable Sessions where you can engage with featured speakers and commentators. You will be able to jump on our virtual stage to ask your question and discuss with our speakers. We will even have an Expo area you can wander and discover.
In our Networking area you can sit, alone, and wait to bump into someone you know, someone who knows you and even just someone you are meeting for the first time – making the Networking area less lonely.
Our goal is to create a whole new set of connections and strengthen our community.
When we do all meet again – hopefully in the near future – when our shoes hit a venue in a foreign city and we can wander around the Expo area. Our goal is that you will bump into someone who will say ‘Last time we met it was at FTT Virtual /Spring! Great to meet you! … In. Real. Life.’
Stay at home on June 10th this year – Until we meet again – let’s meet now. Connect, Engage and Interact with your community at FinTECHTalents Virtual / Spring.