You enter a large ballroom or conference venue, full of groups of people having interesting conversations. Many people you know, quite a few you do not. Do you expect to be part of every conversations from start to finish? Do you mill about seeing where you can drop in? Do you rely on people later to tell you what you heard?

@mahabali But - to the original question. I agree it's very cultural. Norwegians in general are very reserved, and hugging someone you've only just met would be considered...unusual.

@catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting

So here's a moment from my day. It's a hot and windy afternoon, the campus is nearly empty, and thanks to Alec Couros I'm spinning the globe of and just marvelling at the world.

Try it. It tells me I'm listening to a radio station playing in Oban, Scotland at 4.07 in the winter dark.

@cogdog (by have to, I mean it's the only public one in that building and it's where badge pickup usually happens on ground level)

@cogdog of course not! that would be insane. but it is decidedly hard to navigate & I'm sure there's no start to finish - it all keeps kaleidoscoping

@cogdog In real life, I'd hurry up and get myself a beverage, find a suitable bit of wall to stand next to and try my damndest to look like I'm doing exactly the thing I want most to be doing.

Online I read through the thread to find out if I think I have something to add that hasn't already been said.

@cogdog Full disclosure: After milling about I go back to the hotel room and fire up Twitter. Except for that one valuable time I sat in a rocking chair with Chuck Pearson and @Readywriting.

I'm a dope; I wrote "@ lesserpearson" and you know what? That's not a thing. @ShorterPearson @cogdog @Readywriting

@Dan_Blick @cogdog @Readywriting for future reference: in another existence I was a tenured associate professor at the late, great Shorter College in Rome, Georgia

so "Shorter" has additional meaning

@Dan_Blick @cogdog @Readywriting @cogdog I mill about for a little while with a drink and search desperately for people I know while trying not to sip too quickly that one free drink I get. Then I talk to a couple of people I know and they leave and I look desperately around again and see no one I know so like Dan I go to my comfy corner of social media.

@clhendricksbc @Dan_Blick @cogdog @Readywriting I stand like a secret service agent frowning implacably at the crowd till my free drink is done, and then I flee with indecent haste. I am absolutely the most rubbish at this.

@mahabali knows that this is why the assumption of conference networking as a social bonus makes me wary. For introverts it really often isn't. I have a capacity for it measurable in minutes.

@Dan_Blick @mahabali @cogdog @clhendricksbc @Readywriting It's the reason behind a lifetime of flat shoes: there will be fleeing. There will be indecent haste. There will be all kinds of social hopeless.

@katebowles @Dan_Blick @mahabali @cogdog @clhendricksbc @Readywriting @lauraritchie I love this thread :) I'm such a cultural hodgepodge of the countries I've lived in that I'm likely to speak or hug inappropriately. there may be awkwardness, but there will be laughter. virtual hugs, all ;)

@catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
I need to blog about hugs and how they terrify me but may as well write it on Mastodon :)

I wanna hug so many people but not everyone and it worries me that some people may think i wanna hug them when I don't and vice versa.

Culturally, I am ok w hugging women but some women in some cultures aren't ok w that. I am culturally not supposed to hug men but do sometimes. Internal code. Incomprehensible

@mahabali @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting Hugs are interesting. In university I hugged people a lot (my friends, male and female, called it "Fred's hug therapy") but somewhere along the line around 25 yrs. ago I lost the habit...

I think it had to do with moving and suddenly being unsure of the social codes in the new place.

@mahabali Yep. Makes me a little sad to think about it, but very happy on the rare occastion meet up with someone from those days and can give them a hug.

@catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting

I agree with @fgraver on the cultural thing. I remember Italian students at uni who gave amazing hugs, genuinely warm embraces but somehow not intrusive. My french Sister-in-law gives beaucoup de bisoux (3 or 4 cheek-to-cheek kisses in the air). Hugs? In England? um. not so much. -often very awkward- contact is important for life, but there are many ways. Uninvited hugs from small children melt me. :) @mahabali @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @clhendricksbc @Readywriting

@lauraritchie @fgraver @mahabali @catherinecronin @cogdog @Dan_Blick @clhendricksbc @Readywriting From the division: last night I was at an interminable high school presentation night. Student after student slogged across the stage in summer heat and no aircon, to accept a certificate and shake hands with a local politician.

Suddenly this kid gets an award for such extraordinary community greatness that the (female) politician hugged her, she beamed, and we all laughed.

@katebowles @catherinecronin @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @fgraver @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
On my graduation day, upon receiving one (ok 2) awards (for extracurricular stuff) our university president at the time hugged me. It was a wonderful moment. You don't "ask" for hugs on those occasions...

@lauraritchie @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @fgraver @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
Oh i cannot wait for my child to meet you Laura (she falls in love w ppl quickly and...i hate to say this but it is true...likes she will probably like you on sight, then love u as she gets to know u.

Can *I* hug u?

See that is the trick. Sometimes I have to check w women if I can hug them (which makes no sense in my culture)

@mahabali @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @fgraver @clhendricksbc @Readywriting of course! I love hugs - I don't love hugs as small talk, you know when everyone gets a WHAP-SPLAT! hug because it's some default greeting. Perhaps that's a projection of my discomfort in @cogdog ballroom... For me hugs are like laughter & Kate's story has it perfectly.

@fgraver @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
The trick w online is that if u meet someone f2f, u don't really feel as if u "just met". There are years of history and possibly intimacy. So I sometimes can't help myself but hug certain ppl. But others (observing) probably think I am meeting them "first time" and can't understand what's going on

@mahabali @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @fgraver @Readywriting Hugs have to be authentic, though. And mutual. Or else just uncomfortable. It would be hard, but necessary, to say no sometimes like you did, Maha!

@catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
Thing is...some ppl r so close to me we actually have the "hug conversation" before we meet to set guidelines. But lots of other times ppl will see me hugging someone else and assume it is ok to hug me whenever.

Once I (apparently) was so friendly to a (Muslim but living in US) man I was meeting for first time for business (vendor!) and he asked for a hug when i left (I said no, in front of a colleague)

@catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
Sorry for dumping this on u. Must seem silly compared to all of life's real problems. But so much talk of hugging at conferences mentioned in Virtually Connecting sessions recently

@mahabali I usually don't hug people unless they initiate one. Not that I will get to see you in person any time soon, but you won't have to worry about me being a hug-pusher :)

@mahabali Is that the DigiPed institute thing? Its not too far away, just too expensive. I would also have a hard time getting it approved even if there was a huge budget for travel. Not something UTA usually funds.

@grandeped one of probs beforehand was that it is also a "course" so u don't present. But this year there are opportunities to present. And the keynotes are public if u wanted to just attend the one day. I am sure we will meet one day inshallah Matt :)

@mahabali @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting I used to always do the flee to the bedroom thing Dan mentions. But I've forced myself to be more American & go with the hug (if it's acceptable). I blame Alan

@Mweller @catherinecronin @katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @lauraritchie @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
I shook hands w u like 10 times over 2 days when we met Martin to convey how happy I was to meet in person w/o outright hugging ;)

@katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @clhendricksbc @Readywriting
I had been wanting to ask u, Kate, for advice on how u manage intimacy in crowds. Maybe it is because u generally prefer small off-spotlight social interaction it comes naturally to you?
Thing with me is, I really crave what I called "DMing in person" when I had private time w @Jessifer here in Cairo while others were in sessions. That kind of time is what I seek in conferences. Not the public networking aspect (tho that is ok too)

@mahabali @cogdog @Dan_Blick @clhendricksbc @Jessifer @Readywriting So back to this question of intimacy in crowds, the way I manage anything is more or less the same: I step back and listen, because I really don't think intimacy and crowds can be multitasked well (at least not by me). I skip all sorts of things.

I let the crowd be, and as far as possible just talk to one person at a time. I think I try not to fall for the urgency of the occasion.

@katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @clhendricksbc @Jessifer @Readywriting
Talk to one person at a time
Don't let the urgency of the occasion pull me.

That is a good list of things I don't do well naturally, but can work on :)

Also need to find nooks at conferences to do the one-on-ones uninterrupted

@katebowles @cogdog @Dan_Blick @clhendricksbc @Jessifer @Readywriting

Skipping things is maybe one of the things that being perpetually virtual made me capable of doing f2f. It feels rude, f2f, to skip things. But life is short and we need to make the most of our limited time. Some things will be skipped because some people are worth more than those things

@katebowles @mahabali @cogdog @Dan_Blick @clhendricksbc @Jessifer @Readywriting

Walking into/through a room I always listen first to what's in the background. How loud is the crowd? Is there music? Who are the loud talkers? What are they talking about? Why?

Then its the "familiar" people. Do I know anyone? If I know them, do they give me a "look" so as to invite me over to chat? Do they know I only have so much social in me before I retreat to my own little corner/stage?

cc @sundilu

@cogdog Also, this sounded like the setup to a Zork-style text adventure: "The Horrors of Introversion" I'd call it. -- "You enter a large ballroom or conference venue, full of groups of people having interesting conversations."

it is pitch black. you are likely to be eaten by a grue.


@cogdog I try to talk to some people but it all makes me horribly uncomfortable. So I dance around the perimeter getting lost in the moment and spinning up the energy of ancient wisdoms.

@Autumm and hopefully I notice you around the perimeter and find you and lean on you a bit because I'm finding it all a bit too much too @cogdog

@cogdog choose turn the page:

find you have gone to p.8 of a Schubert trio and realise you have neither pianist nor violinist.

You are forced to play more Bach.

Go to p.72

@cogdog I mill about and jump from convo to convo until my legs hurt, and then sit by the stairs, dragging people I recognize to sit with me.

It's really effective at events in SF in the moscone center because you have to take the escalator in the north building.

@pyredrid @cogdog I love this. I've found if you sit somewhere quietly, the world comes to you in the end.

Remembering sitting with you @cogdog in the rocking chairs watching the world go by at OpenEd.

@katebowles @cogdog I saw a friend of mine I was wondering about while sitting down in a hallway at GDC, kinda weird how it all works out that way sometimes :p

@pyredrid @cogdog It's a kind of reverse networking -- anti-networking. Don't work the room.

@cogdog I've been thinking a lot about this idea. I love the meandering conversation paths that are more natural.

But in real-life chats, it's only later that the value of what was shared really clicks. "Wait, what was the name of the book or person, or idea they referred to? What was their name again?"

There was a time, that was all lost - now sometimes I can search & find it/them. If I can lose even less, I'd be happy.

@cogdog anxiously stand near the wall. Hope maybe to see some one I know, get into a conversation and then spend the res of the evening in self-recrimination - and feel bad that I missed out on all the other conversations.

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