"If we had more hell in the pulpit, we would have less hell in the pew."...Billy Graham

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner

My wife has a lot of kin that live in and around Oakland, Oregon and several times since we've been married, we've gone down to visit for Easter Sunday. The church where her family attends always has an Easter Sunday Sunrise service in the bleachers of the high school sports stadium which contains a track also used by members of the community for exercise. Each time we've attended, we've seen the same older woman use the track for distance walking during the service (pulpit being in the track infield with the congregation sitting in the stands) meaning she walked "through" the service while it was going on multiple times during her workout. She appeared to be totally oblivious to the church that was taking place around her...while nobody would suggest she should be part of the event if she wasn't interested, she acted as if the hundreds of people surrounding her participating in the worship didn't even exist.

Ben Lloyd & Kent Schnepp at the 2010 SEMpdx Rooftop Party

SEMpdx recently hosted over 300 attendees to our summer "rooftop" party held recently in Portland. During the event, I was chatting with my friend (and fellow SEO blogger) Rachel Andersen when this guy walks up to us and starts talking about social media. I can't speak for Rachel, but I sized the guy up pretty quickly as someone who not only didn't get social media at all but wasn't going to ever get it...however, as a board member of the organization hosting the event, I (and Rachel) gave him the courtesy of sharing our knowledge to the best of our abilities. Eventually, the conversation ended; he gave me his business card; and I went off to mingle with others (eventually ending up at the Ringside Restaurant with David Mihm, Matthew Brown & Yoshie Yager).

I have very defined process for each business card handed to me at an event. I make a cursory search for the person in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, attempting to connect with the person on each platform. Then, I throw the card in the garbage because it is of no further use to me. Now, I know not everybody is quite the social media whore that I am and some of my connection requests will be turned down, but that's fine by me and part of the game we all play online in the 2010's.

I sent out several social media invites after the party and was surprised when I got the following response back from this guy with whom I talked to for at least 20 minutes:

Todd: Lets wait until we meet in person so I can associate a name with a face. Thanks...

I thought that was pretty funny (since I'm guessing he didn't talk to too many people for as long as he talked to me)...so I wrote back...

Uh...you gave me your card at the Rooftop event, remember? :.)

Surely, he's going to look at my profile page and remember the long conversation we had? I guess not...he wrote back:

No I do not remember giving you my business card. I looked for your business card and I did not find one (I believe I actually did give him one). Did you give me a business card at the SEM PDX event? If we did met I just do not remember it. Sorry about that.

I looked at your photograph on LinkedIn and do not recognize you. I suggest putting up a better quality photograph on LinkedIn because this would help me recognize you. Since your face is cut off horizontally it is nearly impossible to recognize you.

There are so many ways I'd like to respond to him (which I'm sure I'll never get to do). I could tell him about how someone's avatar acts as a window to their social media soul and offer the rhetorical question of whether the avatar is a reflection of how the person sees themselves, how they wish others to see them, or both. Or, I could tell him that the avatar is just an entry conduit for the person's thoughts and feelings and an abstract avatar is less likely to distract a follower from the person's communications since ultimately, it's the person's words that create their social media value, not their look.

However, instead, I will leave this post with the following thought: As social media and life continues to evolve, I'm sure this guy will be walking around in circles oblivious to the exalted wonderfulness taking place around him.