The sporadic updating of this blog can normally be put down to a lack of anything to say (not that it’s stopped me or other bloggers before). Things have rather changed recently, however. To put it indelicately, I’ve been tarting it around a bit (in a ‘making contacts’ sense), but it feels a million miles away from formal ‘networking’ because I’m not talking to people with the money motive in mind; I’m genuinely interested in the people I meet because they’re interesting and intelligent.
Twestival was what sparked it all off, I guess. For the first time in ages, I signed up for an event with the attitude of ‘why not?’ without thinking about whether I’d know anyone else there. As it turned out, it was a bit too rammed for me to chat properly with a lot of people but it had enough of a buzz about it to make me realise I was missing out on a lot of fun by not going to these types of events more often.
The sessions at smclondon08 were variable in usefulness (by far the best session happened to be the first one of the day for me: Tom Whitwell’s ‘How to write awesome headlines’ [slides available on slideshare.net]). What I actually got out of it was confidence in myself in being able to chat to random people I’d never met before and converse intelligently about, well, stuff – and not just techie stuff. It helped that smclondon08 was full of people with whom I have more in common than, say, my own school friends who have nothing to do with the tech industry. That’s not to say that all I want to do is talk about the tech world but it just so happens that I’m interested in the same non-tech stuff as the kind of people I met at smclondon08.
The Tuttle Club (London Social Media Cafe)
Tuttle‘s something I’d heard mentioned on Twitter for ages and never actually managed to attend. For one thing, it used to be held in a pub, which made it a more difficult idea to sell to the work. The relocation to the ICA suddenly turned Tuttle ‘legit’ for people like me who work in an old web 1.0 company.
The first Tuttle I attended actually turned into a bit of Londonist reunion, as I met up with Mike (@sizemore), Rob (@hinchcliffe), and Laura (@warriorgrrl) ((I’d never actually met Laura in person before, despite having emailed years back when she started writing for Londonist)).
My second time at Tuttle in theory should’ve been more daunting, as I wasn’t really sure who else I’d know (apart from Mike) but I spent three hours there engrossed in such engaging conversations that I left feeling like I’d found a spiritual home.
There’s a real buzz at Tuttle and I really value the connections I’m making there because I feel my horizons expanding with every person I meet. It’s something that’s seeing me through some particularly dark professional times right now.
I’m feeling completely energised and excited about the potential of the web again, and that’s all down to meeting great people with great ideas. It’s so refreshing to be with people whose first reaction to an idea is ‘How do we make it happen?’ instead of ‘How much does it cost and how much money can we make out of it?’ I’m not saying that money shouldn’t be a consideration at all, especially if you’re trying to make a living, but you need to make sure good ideas aren’t strangled at birth by corporate red tape.