I can remember as a young adult being told to be careful who I spoke to online. You had to be safe and stay on your guard. We were told to never give people our name or give them any idea of where we lived. Back then the whole idea of picking a great username was basically to cover up your real name. Hence, fluffybunny 2987 was born. No, that wasn’t mine it was, um, a friends username…
Based on the information we were given at the time we just knew there were bad people on the other end of that internet connection…just waiting to get us! We were warned constantly about the dangers of talking to “strangers” online.
But us internet users… we’re rebels.
Slowly, we started to broaden our horizons. Instead of filling our friend’s lists up with people we already knew we branched out and started chatting with these strangers. Soon we realized that those people on the other end of that internet connection were a lot like us. They had similar interests and similar dreams. These strangers also loved Star Wars, bacon and cute kitties!
Connections started to be made, ideas started to be shared and social networking took a whole new turn.
Fast forward to now…here we are in the crazy no holds barred world of the internet. We can connect 24/7 from our homes, our offices, at the grocery store; pretty much anywhere your smartphone has a connection. We are bonding with people across oceans…in different time zones….in different cultures. The world is literally at our fingertips.
My online friend list is longer than my ‘in real life’ friend list. The person I consider to be one of my very best friends I’ve known for eight years…and I’ve never met him. I have so many AMAZING friends that I’ve connected with online but I’ve never had a chance to meet them…until now.
One of the most inspirational connections I’ve made online has been meeting Kristen Slevin, a spirited girl who is jam packed full of awesome. She has ginormous ambitions and an even bigger heart. In a random comment on Google+ at the end of last year she said something to the effect of “can you guys just imagine if we could have a convention that would allow us to actually meet these people we have connected with online?” And the dream was born. She visualized a gathering that would mesh our virtual world with our real one.
And it’s totally happening….
The first global social media event for users (SOCON) will take place September 26-28th 2014 at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. Kristen Slevin and Tom Zarkadas are co-producing the event. These two, coincidentally, met online.
What makes this a true testament to all that social networking can do is the fact that every other aspect of this convention is being handled by a team of people who only know each other through social media. With the exception of Kristen and Tom not a single person on the SoCon planning team has ever met.
The group uses Google Drive to share files and keep all of the event information organized. Google Hangouts is basically the boardroom where ideas are shared and tasks are handed out. I am proud to be a member of the SoCon planning group.
The news of SoCon is spreading across social media platforms. Here is what people are saying about the convention:
Some of the events that are planned so far include:
- Workshops and presentations that will cover a wide variety of topics such as personal and professional growth, building relationships
- Awards for the best costume at SoCon
- “Fifteen Minutes of Fame” broadcast will let people show their talents off to the world
- Dance contest
- Photo scavenger hunt
- Users Choice Awards
While the convention focuses on bringing social media users together from any platform it is also finding unique ways to include those that won’t be able to attend. Games at the convention will be played in teams and each team will include remote members that will be playing from home. Between the interactive games and live Hangouts the ‘at home’ convention attendee will still be a big part of the SoCon experience.
The internet has changed our lives. It has made the world seem smaller. It’s like we are all connected by three little w’s. Even though you should still use caution I dare you to ignore Rick Springfield’s advice in the 80’s and GO TALK TO STRANGERS!!
Then, join us at SoCon to meet these
strange people strangers. For more information on this event visit the SoCon website.
full disclosure: Sandy is part of the SOCON planning committee and Techaeris.com will be a part of SOCON.