I’ve had some great moments when it comes to having “social media friends” that I meet online and, then, at some point, I meet them in person, but this one may be the best.
And, it proves just HOW valuable these social tools can be.
About 3.5 years ago, Monique Elwell introduced me to Aliza Sherman.
We exchanged emails and decided we would meet up at the upcoming 140 Conference in NYC put on by Jeff Pulver.
That didn’t happen.
But over time, distance, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, we stayed in touch.
I have a HUGE amount of respect for her deep understanding of how social tools change the way society operates.
Now, there are many unique things about Aliza, but one of them is that she lives in Tok, Alaska.
Of course, when I visited Alaska last September, my first thought was “finally, I get to meet Aliza.”
Unfortunately, whereas we all might think “oh, Alaska is Alaska,” in fact, Tok is 7 hours by car from Anchorage.
So, it didn’t happen…again
She did, however, introduce me to Tyler Arnold, the man who epiotmizes the idea of the “world is flat,” and her brand value continued to grow in my eyes.
(Aliza’s ability to run a Global MicroBrand from Tok is a close 2nd).
Still, we hadn’t met and given her relatively distant location from me, it didn’t seem likely that we would just “cross paths.”
Until I showed up at BWI airport on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.
Like any good netizen, I was looking for an outlet to charge my various devices and I spotted one where only one plug was being used.
It was connected to a Mac.
Next to the Mac was an iPhone.
I looked at the woman using the Mac and said, “Man, that looks a hell of a lot like Aliza Sherman,” but since my only image of her was her Twitter profile pic, I hesitated. (Also, I mean, what are the odds of someone from Alaska being at BWI in the middle of the day on a random Tuesday?)
Then, I did what any good social media maniac would do, I checked Foursquare to see if she had checked in (she hadn’t, though I had…1 point for me )
Checked Twitter under her profile…nothing.
Finally, I pulled up her contact card (funny, how this was the last thing) and figured I’d call her to see if her phone rang (but I didn’t have her cell number, just an email).
Then, I said to myself, “this is dumb…worst case scenario, it’s not and I have 2 seconds of embarrassment.”
I walked over and as I did, she smiled.
She knew as well…from my Twitter profile pic.
So, 3.5 years, countless emails, FB posts, Twitter updates, blog posts, and more…and the personal connection was made.
The tools didn’t make the connection, but the connection was only possible because of the tools.
That’s was so exciting and revolutionary about today.