May 31, 2006

They are not you.

Maybe I am feeling older. Maybe it's the nature of the beast. Maybe I'm jaded. Maybe I live too far inside the Net. Maybe it doesn't matter.

Maybe it does.

Tonight I went to the spring fling gathering of the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association, which was really a nice get together, but something I wouldn't have gone to if I didn't know a couple of very COOL women who said, "Hey, you should come!"

Toby Bloomberg is just a great lady. She's smart and warm and instantly makes you feel at home. Even when you meet her in person at the top of an escalator at the Atlanta Airport that your child refuses to ride.

Although Toby and I first became aware of each other through a real-world business associate (he who shall not be named), we bonded in the blogosphere, and you know how that goes. Secret handshake, reinventing business on the sly, in our spare time. Toby and I are both involved with BlogHer and are going to the conference in July. I'm hoping we'll wind up on the same flight so she can help me entertain Jenna with stories of Divas and Marketing and why the escalator is our friend. Anyway, Toby was great at the event tonight, as was Maggie Buerger, another well-connected PR and marketing veteran on the Atlanta scene.

And never mind the food--it was awesome, except for saucer-size plates that fit one chicken wing and two spring rolls, and folks when I go from working like mad to driving up to camp to get jenna to dropping her off at my sister's to a 30-mile trip downtown after therapy to attend a marketing whoohaa, you better give me a dinner plate because I haven't eaten since noon and it's 8:30 p.m., and this may be your happy hour, but to me it's a tactical pit-stop on my way through life.

And again, I digress.

The thing that stopped me cold tonight wasn't the drive or the saucer-size plate. It was being back in a tavern that I hadn't been in since the flush days of Ketchum, during the dot-com boom, when we'd celebrate a big account win after work there or cut out early to have some drinks and laughs, and then after the bust, when we substituted a Friday happy hour here and there for our lavish all-company weekend retreats in the mountains.

Let's just say the place has memories.

So  I find myself in that same place, with a sea of (mostly young) folks who looked like my colleagues from six years ago--I mean some were dead ringers for their former selves--and yet, I didn't recognize anyone I knew.

And I thought, I had more colleagues in Austin at SXSW than I know in my own town. When I walked into the bar or restaurant in Austin, I screeched with delight to see the people I have known and worked with virtually--and some I had met--for years.

But when I walked into the former haunt of my former business self, I didn't recognize anyone except the fine ladies who led me there.

And what THAT made me realize is how far across the net I have traveled in the last six years. How telecommuting has morphed into broadband living. How part-time in the office has morphed into full-time connectivity. I don't just do my work OVER the Internet anymore; I work across and inside the Internet. My browser is my office. I don't work in Atlanta. I live in Atlanta. I have some clients in Atlanta. But as far as a workplace--mine is online.

The intense, passionate intimacy of this non-physical place we share here never struck me so obviously as it did tonight, standing in a sea of people who were not you.

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Sandy Kemsley said...

I can completely relate. I live in Toronto, but have almost no customers here. I was at a conference in DC last week and met many more of my business contacts there (peopoe who I had met before face-to-face or through the blogosphere) than I did at Mesh in Toronto a few weeks before.

Looking forward to meeting you, and others, face-to-face at BlogHer.

Jeneane Sessum said...


Toby said...

...thanks for your kind words! The very best of all worlds is when your dear bloggy friends live 'right around the corner.' Or less than a plane ride away :-) Can't wait to entertain Jenna with stories .. or should I say have Jenna entertain me :-) during the coast-to-coast flight to BlogHer. You are the best!