Why #SocialRoadTrip and #JustBeSocial matter — and a lot

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I just came back from my second Social Road Trip (#SocialRoadTrip), this one being in Boston and the first one I attended being in Austin in January 2017. The streak of “places that rhyme” will end next winter because I think the early 2018 addition is headed to Phoenix. If you’ve never heard of this Social Road Trip context and want some more intel, well, that’s in part what this post may provide.

What exactly is Social Road Trip?

It’s a way to connect online relationships face-to-face. Basically, a bunch of people that know each other online (usually from Twitter predominantly, although these people are going to be present on all major platforms) meet up in person and get to know each other better. There is also a Facebook page for this whole deal, as well as a Twitter chat. Unsurprisingly, that chat uses the hashtag #SocialRoadTrip and is typically Tuesday nights at 9pm EST. I don’t go to the chat as consistently as I should, primarily because I’m a little bitch, but usually it’s interesting about travel and building relationships.

Who are some of the key people?

The main dude would be Joel Renner, who just cleared 10K followers on Twitter (whew) and leads his profile with “Connect by design.” If you don’t see how getting a bunch of online like-minded peeps together in-person isn’t an example of “connect by design,” you probably could stop reading now.

Others pretty involved include Martin Lieberman, Tom Reid, Randy Thio, Angelica Mata, and Anh Nguyen. There are others, and the attendance at a given in-person event is going to vary by who is relatively local to said event. For example, if we hit this target on a Phoenix social road trip, I’m going to guess Aaron Kilby, who lives in Phoenix, will probably be there.

Why is this important?

There’s some evidence that face-to-face communication is 34x more effective than digital. You can probably argue with the truth of that stat — many strong relationships have been fostered digitally in the past few years, especially around the rise of remote/freelance work — but still, it’s hard to find someone like-minded online and never have a desire to interact with them in-person. That’s kind of the crux of how Social Road Trip works.

Additional benefit: although I’d say everyone associated with the idea and the actual traveling hates a term like “hustle,” the actual fact is that everyone is hustling to some extent. You have a mix of full-time and freelance. There’s a mix of laid-off and been-somewhere-forever. There’s even a mix of single, married, married with kids, divorced, etc. We tend to way-overcomplicate networking ideas these days, so there’s a degree of beautiful simplicity to meeting up with some people for a few days, talking about whatever, and periodically kicking tires on ideas or partnerships. You know? Isn’t simplicity a noble goal?

What happens on Social Road Trip?

Well, that stays on Social Road Trip, but a snapshot is gonna include:

  • Tourist stuff
  • Volunteering
  • Drinking
  • Eating
  • Listening to Indigo Girls at brunch when it’s just guys (** inside joke alert **)
  • Ranking on what “thought leadership” is
  • Complaining about auto-DMs
  • Profound moments of realization
  • Drinking
  • Eating
  • Meeting new people
  • I said drinking and eating, right?
  • Hashtags
  • Photos

That’s about the landscape right there. Please bear in mind on this whole “friends” deal that will arise for you, well, two things. (1) is that there’s legitimate power to friends at work, and even though these people may not return home and office from the same place as you, they will become friends you can bounce “work stuff” off of. That’s big. (2) is that, especially as remote work increases, work (and life) is increasingly becoming socially-isolated and lonely for people. This is going to help you combat that — provided you feel it. This leads me nicely into “why” (Sinek!) you should go.

Why should you go?

I’ll slap you with a partial list of reasons right here:

  • Meet new people
  • Get out of your comfort zone (or at least your primary city)
  • Drink/eat new stuff, with new people
  • Volunteer
  • Network
  • Hear about the successes and struggles of others in a vaguely-similar space
  • Build legit friendships/relationships
  • Inside jokes for days
  • Realize life is more than The Temple of Busy

There’s the general rub. We’ll update this post, and other sources (FB page/chat), with the Phoenix (or wherever) info when that’s ready. Would love to see you try one out in 2018. Oh, I probably should have mentioned: usually 2/year, one winter and one summer, but that can evolve over time too.

See you soon, friends met and unmet so far.

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/work-with-me/

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