Yesterday in Austin, I was having lunch at the bar at Champions. Mike, a guy sitting next to me, said he was working in the AV department for SXSW. I mentioned it was nice to be talking to someone in person for a change here in Austin. He mentioned that he and his wife recently were discussing “face-to-face” contact and how Twitter/Facebook impedes that. We both mentioned we originally didn’t “get” Facebook or Twitter, but have now been assimilated, he more to Facebook, and I to both Twitter and Facebook.
I apologized for looking at Twitter while talking to him. I was trying to find out where some of the people I follow on Twitter were in Austin, at the same time decrying the trouble I was having meeting people at the conference because people were always on their phone. I had spent a day and a half at conferences where I would rarely get the chance to talk to anyone next to me because they were on their phone. (Disclaimer: okay, I was on my phone, too.)
As we discussed whether Twitter served a great purpose or not, I saw a tweet from a SXSW presenter, Kristina Halvorson (@halvorson). She said she was in Ballroom A for her presentation, which began in about 45 minutes and she needed a wireless microphone. Um, I thought. I’m sitting right next to an AV guy for the conference. I turned to him and explained what had happened. He didn’t seem to believe me at first. He put his head in his hands and said, “She’s “TWEETING” about that?” It sounded silly to him at first. Then he realized he could actually do something about it.
He got on the phone, called one of his co-workers, and had them go to Ballroom A to assist Kristina. Still in shock, he shook his head and said, “What are the odds that you would get that tweet and would be sitting next to someone who could do something about it?”
As we contemplated that, we conceded there was more to this Twitter thing than we realized. My guess is Kristina used all her options – trying to find someone in the center and sending out an SOS on Twitter. Maybe the Twitter SOS was more of an update for her and she didn’t expect someone to really help her. I don’t know if Kristina got the help Mike sent her way, or if she had already found someone in the convention center to help her. But her tweet could have been the answer to her problem, due to Mike’s dispatching.
What’s the lesson here? That some seemingly innocuous Twitter updates may mean more to others than to you? Sure.
But also: That face-to-face stuff is still important, or else I wouldn’t have met Mike and gotten an actual solution for Kristina.
SXSW rocks! (Twitter’s not so bad, either….)