Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm So Excited I Just Might HIRL !

Before you have visions of me leaning over the rail losing my lunch, let me explain that HIRL is an acronym. It simply means Hangout In Real Life. You know geeks and their three letter abbreviations.

Over the last several months I have spend an enormous amount of time in Google Plus hangouts. In hangouts you have a self directed video chat where up to ten people at a time literally see and hear each other. Much of my time in hangouts was connected with the television news shows employing them as a new back channel for two-way audience engagement. Here I frequently interacted with people from all over the world.

But I have also spent time watching live music performances, game shows, round table discussions, cooking and a variety of other activities including purely socializing. One recent hangout, a deep business discussion, set my personal record of seven hours. This is a record I do not wish to break any time soon.

I have made many new friends through hangouts, and I am by no means unique. Lots of people have met for the first time in hangouts.  So it was only a matter of time before the suggestion of a meeting in person would naturally come about.

As a matter of fact, I stumbled upon Patti Simone of WomenCentric, in a hangout only to discover she practically lived in my neighborhood. We planned to meet at the local coffee shop one morning and HIRL together. As an aside, this has culminated in a business relationship. But we will deal with that topic another time.

In a hangout just last week the participants were shocked to see Pio dal cin, a friend from Italy, walk on camera in Robert Redl's home in Vienna Austria. While they had spent countless hours together on-line, this was their first HIRL.

There have been a few major HIRLs including a recent one in LA where many hangout buddies assembled, most meeting in person for the very first time.

The reason I am so excited is because a major HIRL has been scheduled for my home town of New York and I plan to be there. The final details and list of attendees has not been published yet.  But I already know I will have the chance to meet (and probably hug) some of my favorite hangout buddies.

It has been demonstrated that you can form and sustain relationships on-line. Using e-mail, chat, discussion space, Skype, Facebook and now Google Plus, people have met and come to know each other well enough to be considered good friends. Sometimes people wind up dating or even getting married.

But as I have written before (here), there is something special; something so real and genuine about looking a person straight in the eye and giving them a firm handshake or a warm hug that no electronic medium is ever going to replace.

I hope people will be as excited to meet me as I am about meeting them.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC