Offline Geeking

I don’t spend a lot of time hanging around with geeks in the real world. I spend a lot of time hanging around with them in virtual spaces and some of the people I have met there are my closest friends. Offline meets are … quite different. Lots of geeks are quite shy, for starters. Some are quite egotistical, like the guy I met last year at the pre-conference social for phplondon and was horrified to hear that I create PHP using vim instead of a “proper IDE” and said how happy I was that I had made the effort to reach out to the conference and that he was sure I would learn a lot – the implication being that anyone who writes code with a keyboard is clearly a n00b. I’m hoping to avoid a repeat of that experience. I know I don’t look like a PHP developer but the friends I meet online can’t see that and I kind of forget … until an offline meet.

Perhaps experiences like these put me off doing the real-life thing but I am honestly so excited about PHPLondon tonight and tomorrow that I can’t imagine staying away. I’ll be promoting phpwomen at the main conference and I’m really excited about that too – look out for flocks of girls in bright purple t-shirts!

(OK, maybe not flocks…)

3 thoughts on “Offline Geeking

  1. Depends on the circumstances really. I’m sort of shy with with large groups that I don’t hold much in common with, but not at the GeekUp events. I think that’s mainly due to not having quite as much stuff to talk about with non-geek groups.

    I don’t see this as a particularly bad thing though, geeky gatherings tend to have more interesting conversation such as politics, (non-crap) music, science, arts as well as the techie stuff. I often feel stuck and unable to contribute to the somewhat vacuous conversations that occur in non-geek social situations.

    I think the guy you met was one of the variety of geeks that approaches social situations as a soapbox for their own views. This is common, but naive and comes across as egotistical. I’ve learnt over the years that conversations go much better if you keep your opinions to yourself initially and feed the conversation with open-ended questions.

    …oh and as a vim-using PHP developer, I suspect he’s unfamiliar with the power it yields. Preferring the safety of a nice GUI. What a n00b… :-)

  2. James: I’m good with with people once I’ve met them but I always feel that at a geek meeting people wonder what I’m doing there and assume that I’m a girlfriend/designer/project manager/recruiter – its hard to convince people that I’m a real live programming geek.

    Rob: Kevin and I both enjoyed meeting you too, hope you had a good couple of days.

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