The Definition of Meeting Someone

It wasn’t that long ago that we would only say we had “met someone” if we had stood in front of them in person and said hello.

In today’s world where we can work, play and interact with people around the globe seamlessly via online video, how do we now define meeting someone?

At a conference I recently attended, I was sitting down waiting for the next session when a woman asked me if the seat next to me was free. As she sat down, I had this strange sensation that I knew her. I remember the feeling vividly because it felt different than the normal déjà vu.

It turns out I did know her. She works at Citrix, and we had recently taken part in several GoToMeeting sessions together. While we had interacted and seen each other, we had never physically met. That is why the feeling I experienced was familiar and yet extremely different.

So, how do you answer in a situation like this when someone asks if you’ve met someone?

When someone not so well versed in technology asks, the question will give me pause. Trying to explain that I only know them online but that we spend an hour on a video call every week would confuse them to no end.

As a result, I’ve started treating the definition of the phrase “met someone” as being much broader. If we’ve talked while seeing each other in any medium, it counts. If the relationship consists only of emails, texts or tweets, it doesn’t count.

To meet someone, you have to interact with him or her beyond only words.

While meeting in person will always be my preferred way of getting to know someone, the power that online video conferencing gives us to form relationships is too amazing not to count.

What do you think? Can you truly meet someone only through a webcam? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Photo credit: ashley rose

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