Sunday, October 21, 2012

I want to MEET meet you

I am going to meet someone really cool this week.

It is someone famous. It is someone that I admire, someone that I wish to emulate. It is someone that I first met via Facebook. And now, I will get to meet them - live and in person.

And then it hit me today. For the rest of my life (or at least until Facebook collapses) I will have only two kinds of friends. The kind that I first meet in real life (and then “friend-ed them” online) or the kind that I first meet online, and then met them in person.  

That’s it.

Virtual friends that become real, or real friends that become virtual.

There will always be Skype, and VoIP and even HD Video Conferencing. There will always be emails, and tweets and online posts. But I don’t think anything will replace the power of true face to face interaction.

I sell technology for a living. I am convinced that distance learning is future of education as well as business, and that technology based learning systems will continue to change the way the world learns, works and plays.

But nothing will make me feel the way that I am feeling as I write this blog post. I don’t think I will ever feel this excited to get a tweet, or read a post, or do a Skype video call with anyone. This is going to be real. I am meeting someone that I really admire - live. Nothing beats this feeling of anticipation and excitement.  

Distance learning is the future of education. The college experience will never be the same for all future generations. But no amount of 3D high definition “anything” will replace that visceral feeling when you meet that special person live. It will not matter if it is your teacher or your client. Communication while within your personal space (handshake distance) will become the gold standard for personal interaction. In the future people will turn in expense reports to cover such “handshake” meetings. “But boss, an HD video conference was just not enough, I needed to MEET meet this person!”

Now on your own Facebook account: are they your virtual friend that you actually met, or are they your real friend that you chat with online?

“Yeah, they are your friend alright, but did you ever MEET meet them?  

Huh, did you???”

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