Degrees of separation

Social media bleeds into meatspace far too often in London.

Try as I do, I still fall foul of the repeated error, usually on my way into work half asleep, of seeing people I know through either twitter or blogging and reacting as if I know them in the real world when this is clearly not the case.

Picture the scene:

Crisp Tuesday morning, I have just cycled the whole way in, I’m sweaty, puffed out and still wearing my only-just-get-away-with-it cycling top trying to get to my other office as I walk passed a well known London comic shop (not FP). Pausing at the doorway is a blogger I read, whose stuff is really snort-your-tea-across-the-room funny, and I give a little smile of recognition.

Key point: She does not know me.

And I look like some kind of hippy hobbit who has just run a marathon resulting in clothes that came out of the wash one size too small. The crushing sense of social faux pas kicked in about two microseconds after the smile as I threw my eyes desperately for the floor and tried to walk on without tripping over my own feet.

Fortunately for me, said person is quite tall (I am not) and so hopefully I didn’t actually register on her sight line. Perhaps I just imagined the rapid eye movement and lip pursing.

Actually, it’s just me…

It’s not the first time I have fallen foul of this false sense of this false sense of proximity that social media tends to create but perhaps I am being unfair. Perhaps it’s just a natural progression of my total inability to remain calm around famous people whose stuff I admire as evidenced by pretty much any entry on this blog where I run into such people.

I’m not really convinced though because if, say for example, I run into Anthony Stewart Head on a side street in SoHo I know that he is the guy of Buffy, Merlin and a bunch of other stuff, he knows that he’s likely to be recognised and we are engaged in a two way exchange where both parties know their role.

In the social media world, just because you gather a small gathering online, doesn’t mean it translates to real world knowledge and so you’re not necessarily expecting recognition. Such incidents are kind of strange, even when you explicitly invite them such as at conferences where I do try to encourage people who know me on twitter and the like to come over and say hello.

What about you? Any amusing social media/meat space incidents?

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