[Joe Thornley. Photo by Hyku]
My friend Joe Thornley just announced my five-city Twitterville book tour, which he has assembled on my behalf and for which I am extremely grateful. You can see the details here. It will also be the the third birthday for Third Tuesday, a monthly social media meet-up that has burgeoned since September 2006.
Canada is special for me as a speaker. When Joe brought me to Canada to tout Naked Conversations, it was the first time I ever spoke outside of the US. I had been to Canada a few times, and culturally it isn't that different from the US. Not only that but when we are not on the hockey rinks, Canadians and Americans tend to get along pretty well.
But still, I would be speaking in a foreign country. There are differences in nuance and culture. For example, those Canadians actually LIKE cold weather, which I hate. As Joe recently observed, I tend to be a worrier when it comes to writing and speaking. I sweat details in advance, so I can have fun when I'm up on stage.
Joe had arranged a couple of warm=up engagements where I had not be poorly received, but I had not hit it past the goalie by any measures.
So my confidence wasn't overflowing as I got ready for the main reason I had come to Canada, to help Joe launch the first-ever Third Tuesday in Toronto.
My knees were almost shaking when I got on the dais to be interviewed. I muttered my first two paragraphs. Then I started noticing people in the audience seemed happy to see me. Heads were nodding. Folks were smiling. Okay, Canadians tend to be very polite, when hockey is not involved but it helped to feel warmly received.
I felt Third Tuesday went well. I made some friends that night whom remain friends. I look forward to seeing them face-to-face again. "Hell," I thought, "they're just a bunch of social media geeks, just like in the States."
And in that thought was a bigger lesson.
It's not that all Canadians will enjoy or have the slightest interest about what I have to say. In fact, at that time, relatively few Canadians much cared about social media, or Robert Scoble, never mind the unknown other guy who wrote Naked Conversations.
There were, however, a few people who cared. It seemed we shared a common topical interest, a shared passion on something new and different that might change the way people communicate all over the world. I, and the American and Canadian social media enthusiasts shared a common interest and it transcended geographic barriers.
These are global neighborhoods. People of the world are using social media to create new spaces built on common interests.
Canada made me comfortable speaking in a foreign country. I've been most fortunate to speak in several more countries in Europe and Asia over the past few years, not to mention diverse corners of my own country.
Wherever I go, I'm comfortable. I know that most of the people out there care about the things I care about; read some of the same people I read; talk and follow and hear some of the same words and faces and voices that I follow.
My social media neighborhood has gone global and it is really a kick to be part of it and to see how it has grown in so many ways and so little time.