Last night, at a Social Media Club of Detroit event, I overheard a man approach another man and introduce himself by saying that he has been following him for a long time.
On Twitter, of course.
This prompted a chuckle out of the man who was approached. He said it sounded like something a stalker would say to a pretty woman. After that slight bit of awkwardness had passed, they settled into a conversation and networked properly.
This is networking in the digital age.
For somebody who has an introverted personality like mine, going up to somebody to introduce yourself is terrifying. But also essential. You can only interact with somebody digitally for so long before a face-to-face meeting becomes a necessity.
After I had the pleasure of finally meeting Gini Dietrich in person last night, I approached a guy who I have talked to a few times on Twitter to introduce myself. (I made a vow to myself that I would try to personally meet at least two people.)
It was sort of terrifying.
The guy had a pretty good idea of who I am, but it was still totally weird to approach cold like that. Thankfully, he didn’t look at me too strangely when I said we had interacted a few times, but never in person.
The uncomfortable takeaway is that this type of networking isn’t going away anytime soon.
At networking events for the foreseeable future, there will still be introductions made by way of a handshake and a disclaimer that you love their tweets.
All we can really do is smile and nod and hope the person approaching you has yours and their best business interests in mind.
But it’s still kind of weird.