Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Online or Offline? Neither - it's 'Inline'


 I'm often asked if online interactions will replace traditional face-to-face ones. They won't - but they will co-exist. Let me tell you how based on some real-life experiences. I had at a conference I attended earlier this week. 

 I was sitting at the conference listening patiently to the presenter when I noticed that a guy I used to work with- Mike from Telstra - was sitting in the row in front of me. I wanted to make sure he knew I was at the event so I had a chance to say hello. I didn't have his mobile number but noticed that he was using Twitter (a messaging tool that allows one to post short messages often referred to as 'microblogging'). I sent him a 'tweet' (a twitter message) from my Blackberry Bold telling him where I was, he turned around to acknowledge me and we caught up briefly during the first session break. 

 As we went to the next session, I got a 'tweet' (a twitter message) from Michelle at IBM who noticed I was at the conference. Michelle is a working Mum and she couldn't get to this particular event. She asked me if I could send her some of the information from a presentation she was particularly interested in. I'll do so as soon as the slides are available in the next few days. 

 Just as we broke for lunch, I was approached by Bryan who introduced himself to me. Bryan is a recruiter who found me on Linkedin (online business network) two months ago. We spoke on the phone but never met face-to-face. He recognised my face from my Linkedin photo and at that moment, we decided to have lunch together. 

 After lunch, I recognised the face of a gent called Jye who posted one of my articles on Online Networking on HIS blog site. During the next break, I introduced myself to him to personally thank him for promoting my article. We'll catch up for a coffee meeting in the next couple of weeks. 

 I guess I could have organised face-to-face or offline meetings with Mike, Michelle, Bryan and Jye which would have taken time and effort. Due to the instantness and complimentary nature of online media, I utilised both to my advantage. In fact, it's what I call "inline", meaning (as the name suggests) an interaction outcome that's 'in line' with how one operates, incorporating online and offline worlds. As usual, would appreciate your thoughts..


Su voz emergente said...

This is a very interesting observation on how one operates within the "online" world.

I would like to build on to this concept of "inline" which is due to time limitations that we all experience from our busy schedules.

I see the "inline" idea as a way of jumping the queue. Very similar to what we would do if a person did not wish to wait in line to purchase movies tickets. You simply make the purchase which would be considered inline with your time commitments.

A Cinema operator in Australia does this so customers do not have to meet face to face and can see a movie with their printed movie tickets.

In this scenario therefore applying the concept of "inline" is showing how you choose to conduct particular transactions for entertainment purposes.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, and all I can say is that my experiences mirror yours, particularly when it comes to e.g. meeting up with folks at conferences. I've also found lately that someone twittering something becomes someone "saying something" - so as a small example, on arriving in the office today my friend and I were discussing how cold it was, and I said "yes, xxx just said that too" (the unspoken words being, "on Twitter"). Online interactions are increasingly becoming inline-d into offline life.