Geek Breakfast!

In March 2009, I attended my first Podcamp Nashville.  While there I got to meet, or hear speak, a couple of people I’d been following (and admiring) on Twitter for a little while.

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One of those folks was Dave Delaney (@davedelaney on Twitter).  Soon after, I discovered Dave had organized what he referred to as a Geek Breakfast group on Facebook.  He describes the group as, “A casual monthly meet-up over coffee and breakfast to discuss new media, podcasting, blogging, programming, open source, social networks and more.”  I quickly joined.  Later, I discovered a group had also been created for Hendersonville (a community north of Nashville) by Bill Seaver (@billseaver on Twitter).

I soon realized though that, while joining these Facebook groups would no doubt bring into my life many new and exciting friendships, the proximately of my home and work to both of these areas would make it difficult to make one of the monthly gatherings any time soon.

I proceded to check the Geek Breakfast headquarters and saw that, while there was a Murfreesboro group in addition to Nashville and Hendersonville, there wasn’t a south of Nashville, Franklin/Spring Hill group of any kind.  If you know the Franklin and Spring Hill, Tennessee areas at all, you know that over the last 10 years Spring Hill and the Franklin area of Cool Springs have grown significantly.

It just didn’t seem right for there not to be a Franklin – Spring Hill Geek Breakfast Group.  So, I did what anyone else would’ve done in my situation.  I formed my own.  Honestly, I did it without giving much thought to preparation and planning, the investment of time, recruiting people, any of that.  I just did it.

So, now, here I sit eagerly anticipating the development of this new group.  As soon as I can secure a location and date, I’ll pass the info along both on Facebook and here on my blog under the Geek Breakfast tab.

I hope if you live or work near this sprawling area of middle Tennessee you’ll consider joining us.  And, if you have any suggestions on how to make it better, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thanks!

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Social Networks: Valuable Only If You Cultivate Them

Today is my birthday.  And for the last several years, I’ve not thought of my birthday as anything to look forward to.  I’ve certainly not felt comfortable drawing attention to it.  Once you get to be my age, they honestly aren’t a big deal anymore – at least I thought that was the case.

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In the twelve months since my last birthday, my involvement in social networks has grown tremendously.  In 2008 I joined Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, LinkedIn, FriendFeed and Vimeo, just to name a few (click any of my personal links to the right to find out more on any of these networking sites).

One of the things I appreciate most about social networking, particularly when it comes to Facebook and Twitter, is the opportunity to consistently connect with people I’d all but lost touch with before joining.  Back then it took a rare e-mail or a chance meeting to catch up.  On Facebook though dozens of people, many of whom I haven’t seen in years, have sent me birthday wishes.

“What’s the big deal Jeff,” you may be thinking.  I know, I know, it’s a simple thing to do.  I’ve done it many times myself.  Your connections can literally “stumble” upon the fact it’s your birthday with no effort at all.  But knowing each one took the time to send me a note has caused me to stop and think about how lucky a guy I am.

It doesn’t have to start and stop there, of course.  But often times it does.  And, yes, I’m as guilty as anybody.  But why is that?  Why are so many of us “connected” to people we’re not bothering to actually connect with on a more regular basis?  Time?  Too many connections to manage?  Connecting to people we don’t know well?

The reasons are many, but I know one thing.  One of my goals for 2009 will be to work harder at making “real” connections that I take time to cultivate, rather than connections for connections sake.

How about you?

Will you help hold me accountable?