Internet friends

I have been computer literate for years, so when I had my children, each learned early how to use one and the rules of using the computer. First and most importantly, they were not allowed on the internet unless mom or dad were in the room. When the kids joined Facebook, there were new rules to follow and it all worked out well. Most importantly they were not allowed to ever chat with strangers online or meet anyone they spoke with online.

Years went by, and Twitter came about, which of course I joined (geek). The kids were older and were now lecturing me about chatting with strangers online. When I said I was going to a Tweet-up, they freaked on me. I explained I would be in a local restaurant thus a public place, and I would have my cell on me, they weren’t particularly pleased but finally gave their approval (I was 50 years old by the way, in their mind though age did not matter). All went well at the get-together, I met other moms in my city and basically we chatted about boring things. My next big step was attending a Blogging conference, where I met other bloggers from all over Canada.

So when I heard Sarah (the blogger behind Journeys of the Zoo) and her family would be in my area, I invited them to our house for a barbecue, my children were not very impressed. Middle child went so far as to post this on her Facebook page: mama bird is having some internet friends over for dinner….. I feel like this is turning into an episode of how to catch a predator. Now I had been chatting with Sarah on Twitter before I met her at the Blissdom Canada Social Media/Blogging Conference. We hit it off immediately, continued our relationship online,  I added her to my snail mail Christmas list, and her lovely children mailed me a postcard from Mexico (it only took about two months for it to arrive). Basically Sarah was no longer a stranger to me, though she was to my family.

This past Sunday, Sarah and her family arrived for dinner, and we all immediately got along. Her children were amazingly adorable and well-behaved, her husband and brother were exceptionally polite guests but also humorous. It was a lovely visit all round, and I look forward to them dropping by again.

Sarah and I

Note: You have to be very careful who you chat with on the internet, though that person may say they are the same age as you are, you cannot take this as true. Always meet in a public place, if possible bring a friend along with you. If you are underage, DO NOT meet up with people you chatted with and always talk to your parents please.

Parents: it is important that you know what your children are doing online; when our kids were young we had the computer in our living room, that way, we could easily monitor their activity. If you are not computer literate, look into taking a course, most libraries or community centres will offer free courses for adults.

Remember the online world can be fun but it can also be dangerous, so just be informed.

How many of us adults behave like children?

In just less than a week I will be attending Blissdom Canada 2013, with hopes that it will be a wonderful time. One of the first things that comes to mind, is the number of people who will not know anyone. Sure people have chatted on Facebook and Twitter, but you really don’t know them. When it comes to meeting people face to face, anxiety makes an appearance for some of us. We may enter a large room, see many a round table, some people will already be seated and we will wonder where to sit. I, myself, usually choose a table at the back of the room just because it is physically easier for me, but most people tend to go to the front of the room.

At the beginning of September this year, the start of the school year for those of us that live in Ontario, Canada, Toronto Police Officer Chris Boddy send out a wonderful tweet:

School Tweet

As adults we behave quite similar to our children, we will enter the room, do a quick scan for someone we know, and we will glance over that person sitting alone, not thinking anything of it. Now this is not to say, that the person sitting alone, isn’t also waiting for someone, but there is always one who isn’t and just like children, will sit there quietly, maybe pretending to read the agenda for the second/third time. So this time when you enter the room, maybe say hello, ask if the person would like to join you at your table, it’s really that easy.

Should I attend Blissdom 2013

To go to Blissdom 2013 is the issue I am struggling with since I did not have a successful time last year Blissdom2012. I am a blogger, but not a blogger who is out to make money. I blog to keep my mind active and some days just to keep my sanity. So is Blissdom for me?

Early bird tickets are on sale now and they are of course, a better price, but the agenda has yet to be finalized. How do you sign up for something when you don’t know who the keynote speakers are or what the microsessions will entail? The early bird price is available until the end of July so I am hoping there will be more information so I can make a decision on whether or not to go?

What would you do? Would you sign up for a conference when you don’t know who the keynotes are or what the microsessions will be about?