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I Can Attest – He is Real!

Written by Sandra Parrotto  · December 8, 2010

I Can Attest – He’s Real!

This is not a fluff piece.  It’s the story that resulted from tweeting, emailing and, recently MEETING Chase Adams.  The relationship with him dramatically altered my experience with twitter and provided an unexpected opportunity to test the “humanness” of social media.

Meeting Chase allowed the student in me to examine the nature of our exchanges, question the meaning of the words and see if my intuitive read matched the “real person”.  After sending hundreds of tweets into the “stream” only to hear silence, I could finally share each blunder, hiccup, pinch, warm fuzzy and moment of confusion with another human, in the flesh.  It turns out that humanity in the virtual world has very few differences from that of the real one.

On that note, let me fast forward to seat 23E, preparing to land in Atlanta.

Thinking on the plane…what should I do when I see him? I’d really like to jump up and down, scream CHaaaaaase, and then give him a great big hug.   No, I can’t do that –  unacceptable and he’ll think I’m odd.  I could be cool and look around the atrium with no obvious focal point, casually zero in on him and say with my eyes wide, surprised, OH!  Are you Chase?

Finally, there he was – 15 feet away – leaning with arms crossed, hanging back.  Instantaneously, my previous plans vanished;  I mustered my most friendly, “unpuppydoggish” self and sheepishly asked –  Chase?

Score One for the RealChaseAdams! He showed up, patiently waited even though I was 3 hours late and made our meeting happen.

First things that surprised me:

  • He didn’t talk in 140 characters nor did he tweet to others while with me

  • Took lots of time to be thoughtful and engaged himself – 100%

  • He redefined my idea of a “tech guy”

  • Was even more charming than expected

  • Took great care of our waiter who accommodated our 4 1/2 hour meeting

  • Smart and smarter – articulate – wise

  • Great, expressive eyes

Chase was a real collaborative guy who didn’t just decide stuff, but included me in creating the evening.

Score Two for the RealChaseAdams! He could relate, interact & generate a relationship without hiding behind a computer.

Meeting Chase, IRL,  produced a weird sensation.  My heart knew him but my brain didn’t.  I almost reached over and actually pinched him just to prove to myself that he was physically present, but restraint prevailed.  With this additional  visual-sensory input, I had a lot more to process – quickly.  The tilt at the edge of his smile, the twinkle in his eye, the way he moved his fingers when he reached for his “sweet tea” – all new input.  It’s the physical that we miss in the virtual world!

We covered lots of topics!

  • Chase’s vision for #usguys

  • My desire to learn technology and social media

  • Interesting life experiences

  • My gratitude for well… ‘him’

  • Previous tweet exchanges that occurred in the stream – some funny and others that left me “wondering about the outcome”

  • Twitter etiquette, social theory and relationship building within a tribe

  • Chase’s  dreams for the future, speaking at #sxsw, and my self-development game (I must admit, it was thrilling to share my hand-colored drawing with someone from the virtual world)

We were having a great conversation when quicker than I could say, “This is fantastic”, we dropped – Kerplunk! into a relationship “thing” that typically occurs only after knowing someone for some time.  Most “things” test the substance of a relationship.  And I wasn’t sure that one created in the virtual world could support the weight of a “thing”!

SNAG! ...heart racing...PANIC!  (What happens if we decide we don’t like each other?)

By way of background, we’d registered for @jonmorrow’s blogger apprenticeship program.  I was impressed with Chase’s ability to engage other members of this community.  He gave great feedback!  I followed – he followed back.  We then began trading tweets during Hurricane Earl.  Are you expecting the hurricane to hit hard?  Your name reminds me of a soap star.  Why are you driving in this nor’easter?

Lighthearted exchanges grew into a sense of connectedness, and we started sharing emails.  After a couple of “Wow, you’re pretty amazing’s” and “Can’t wait to see where you go next”, Chase asked me for feedback about something he was writing.

In my desire to illustrate my commitment to him, I responded with the smartest stuff I had to offer – but I was hesitant because I didn’t know how he’d react.  Over the next week or so, while participating in #usguys,  I started to sense my interactions with him had changed.  I pondered this for a while and then wrote to him and asked, “What’s up?”

At “the moment” at dinner, we talked about that blip and what had really happened.

I found out he was troubled by my feedback.  It turned out that I missed the point entirely.  Chase was wanting me to understand his concerns about pursuing a new job opportunity and what he got from me was an intellectual critique.  In my distorted attempt to provide substance, I bungled the chance to care about his feelings and him “as a person”.  This landed like a 2000 pound elephant given my intense commitment to relate deeply to others.  I played small and convinced myself it would be unwelcome in a “virtual” relationship.

I had an “alfalfa sprout” moment at dinner with Chase.  The kind of learning that’s fresh, unplanned and shocking to your ego.   Chase could’ve avoided telling me the truth and blown it off deciding this was too intense for a twitter connection.  But, he didn’t.  And precisely because of this, the tie between us grew closer.

Winning Score! This went straight to my heart.

Chase Adams connected with me through 140 characters.  He communicated with me through emails.  He influenced me to participate in #usguys.  He caused my participation in social media to become vital, compelling  and supportive.  And then, in real life, Chase was willing to risk it all and share a negative with me.

Turns out that the virtual world is no different than the physical one.  The venue doesn’t matter.   It depends entirely on our capacity and desire to build relationship.

Chase knew that.  Sentiment CAN build within 140 characters.  I could’ve discovered that this sentiment was a figment of my imagination.  But because of “who” Chase  is, the reality far exceeded my expectation.  I didn’t have to pinch him to determine that he is, in fact,

The Real Chase Adams!

Sandra Parrotto is fascinated by self development, creative expression, intimacy & relationships.  She is the owner of Qstreet, an organizational development, leadership and coaching consulting company.  Theguidequest website, scheduled for launch in April, will provide online training and coaching career opportunities.  She can be reached at sam @ qstreet.com, on twitter @qstreet and fb as Sandra Parrotto.


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Comments

24 Responses to “I Can Attest – He is Real!”

  1. Chase Adams on December 8th, 2010 9:45 am

    Great post Sam!

    I’m so glad we had that opportunity to connect in real life, outside of twitter and start this journey of building communities.

    There’s a lot to be said for being open and laying aside your desire to seem cool and collected to just be vulnerable.

    You know how to make people feel like a rockstar. I know I do šŸ™‚

  2. Jill Manty on December 8th, 2010 11:30 am

    Wonderful post, Sam! Thanks for allowing us to share it here. The only thing missing is a picture of you in Chase- maybe at your next meetup!

  3. Carrie Kane on December 8th, 2010 5:32 pm

    Wonderful post, Sam. I am lucky to virtually know both you, Chase and the many others I’ve met via #UsGuys.
    All my best, Carrie

  4. Nick Kellet on December 8th, 2010 8:39 pm

    Loved it.

    Read very word:)

    I didn’t Tweet during reading, or even glance away.

    Way to go, you broke your duck, shared you soul.

    Collect $200, advance to Go and launch your site:))

    April is too far away:)

  5. Sandra Parrotto on December 9th, 2010 3:39 am

    Chase, funny but I think you really are a rock star for me – will be a fan forever – can’t wait to see how your life turns out… remember when I teased you about running for President? hope I’m around so that I can work on your campaign šŸ˜€ You are extraordinary! Connection with you has all of the characteristics of divine intervention – I am grateful! (bowed head)

    Jill, are you for real? Think I need to make a trip to Houston just to sit across from someone like you. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be received by another person? You have done that for me, and you, your unique form of generosity, came out of the blue. I suppose those moments when we’re not expecting something, are the ones that have the most meaning. I’m officially walking in life at your side now. My appreciation, my awe… Pushing that publish button will reverberate throughout my entire being for months to come. It was the starting moment of the rest of my life and you made it happen. Thank you!

    Carrie, talk about screaming onto the scene – thank you for taking the time to read this – it is an incredible gift to me – the idea that you’d care enough to read and then even comment. This being my first post and being about Chase, I had much at stake. You being there to “catch” it registers with me – big time. Thank you for extending your time and heart.

    Nick, You loved it? Really? and you read every word? It was one of those times that I’d say, “You had me after those first 2 sentences” I hold you in such very high regard, the fact that you’d read it, approve and then actually write it – my breathing got deeper after hearing your response – I can walk just abit taller because you are in my life today. Thanks

  6. Raul Colon on December 9th, 2010 2:14 pm

    Stories like these are great. I have had my opportunity to meet great people in person after interacting with them online.

    It really creates stronger bonding when that opportunity arises.

    I have interacted with both Chase and Sandra online and have really enjoyed many of their tweets and conversations.

    I do agree that online and virtual should be the same the only difference is the physical distance amongst the people communicating with each other.

  7. Cristian Gonzales on December 9th, 2010 2:36 pm

    LOVED it.

    I felt like you were about to meet some Twitter celeb and I was experiencing it through your eyes.

    I was just as excited as you were, ha ha. Well, maybe not as much. šŸ˜‰

    It’s funny how 140 characters can build relationships. Then again, some relationships get started with just a smile, so it goes to show that relationships can be built anywhere, and at any time, and in almost any kind of platform.

    Fun read Sam.

  8. Patrick Prothe on December 9th, 2010 2:48 pm

    Sandra – what a rich account; I get the feeling of what was like to be there. And share the same thoughts about IRL vs. URL. It also shows that the interactions I’ve had with you both online paint a pretty good picture of what it’d be like to meet in person. And that’s why I so love Twitter and getting to know super cool people like yourself and Chase. I look forward to continued dialogue and so appreciate the opportunities we’ve had to connect.

    This is truly an example of the power of community in practice. Way beyond theory!

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. sumner musolf on December 9th, 2010 3:04 pm

    Great post on the virtue of a virtual relationship. Reading / “Hearing” how a peer impacts another is always enlightening and refreshing.

    Thank you, humbly, for sharing this experience. It creates the desire to engage even more… with Chase individually and with #usguys as a interactive group.

  10. Paul Biedermann on December 9th, 2010 4:18 pm

    Hi Sandra –

    Congrats on opening yourself and your heart in this, your first post. Everyone says that’s the secret of great blogging — just being yourself.

    The power of 140 characters, on the other hand, is no less than that of poetry: saying all that needs to be said in as few words as possible. It makes us all “think” before we “speak”, so it’s not a huge surprise to me that real communication can not just develop, but also blossom in the Twitter format.

    I have only been introduced to many of you recently through #UsGuys, and look forward to much stimulating conversation — and more!

  11. Terez on December 9th, 2010 6:43 pm

    Sandra, what a wonderful post on how relationships in the virtual world can transfer into the physical one. I’m still relatively new to social media, but have met a few delightful, generous and creative people. I’ve learned so much, and appreciate you so eloquently sharing your experience – and I agree, a picture of you and Chase would be great!

  12. Jeannette Baer on December 9th, 2010 7:18 pm

    Wow, Sam, I read this with mixed emotions! I am excited to know both of you had the opportunity to meet each other and at the same time I am envious of both of you!.
    It is clear that you admire Chase and you were filled with expectations prior to your arrival. You described perfectly all those expectations and we could related to it, because we are all experiencing the same, as more and more of us are making dates to meet each other from the Tribe!

    #UsGuys had changed they way I communicate with the stream, I feel like I no longer just “post” but engage with people, interact with the stream and now we all look forward to meeting each other!
    I have already Skyped with a few people from the group and cant help but feel that those experiences are helping us bond and establishing relationships that will last for years to come!
    At the beginning of this comment I said I was envious, because I would give anything to have the opportunity not only to meet Chase & share a glass of “ice tea” with him, but also to have that time with you! I am so glad we connected and that we have taking that connection to a different level – That’s what UsGuys is doing…changing the way we communicate and taking that convo to a higher level!

    ~ and this is just the beginning for #UsGuys!

  13. Sandra Parrotto on December 10th, 2010 3:54 am

    Hi Raul,

    It seems like the word relationship gets used in all of its forms in social media and it’s up to each of us to define it. I so remember chatting about the ocean – so much so – when I see you pop into my stream, or make a comment on my 1st ever blog post, I picture you there. Amazing what words can create, afterall they have to come from somewhere – a grin – US! Thank you for commenting, reading, staying connected with me.

  14. Sandra Parrotto on December 10th, 2010 3:59 am

    Christian,

    I’ll never forget getting to meet your cats. I was so impressed by your willingness to share a part of your life that you loved – and it was so clear that you did. Your love for your cats gave me a way to get to know you, to feel comfortable talking about anything. In your way, you gave me the same gift, I felt like I was there.

    In the end, I think that’s the point. To give all of us a chance to be more intimate with each other, to provide an emotionally supportive environment to express ourselves. Thank you again!

  15. Sandra Parrotto on December 10th, 2010 4:05 am

    Thank you Patrick for sharing your thoughts with me. I often picture sitting in your kitchen, drinking coffee with you and your family. You have a manner about you that is so easy and peaceful. Makes me relax every time I read a post or catch you in the stream.

    Yes, this was certainly the power of community and I’ve got to tell you, my heart has to keep expanding to accommodate it. It’s taking something of me to receive all of this encouragement and support – you have been so validating. I feel it down to my toes…

  16. Sandra Parrotto on December 10th, 2010 4:08 am

    Yes Paul, you are so right… At first I felt constrained and rebellious inside of those 140 – then I started having a little fun with it – and now it does kind of feel like poetry. I get to decide how much of the space I’ll fill, how much of the detail I’ll provide… and yet it does turn out, that we get to know each other with each push of the “send” button.

    I was thinking yesterday that twitter allows you to skim off the beginning layers of relationship in a way that being in person wouldn’t. You couldn’t spend 5 minutes with someone everyday for 3 months – not possible – unless you worked with them, so twitter does it through 140… thank you for taking time out of your life to share in my big moment & my incredible exp of meeting Chase

  17. Sandra Parrotto on December 10th, 2010 4:12 am

    Is your name really sumner? should’ve tweeted that…

    Being new to my world, it’s doubly significant that you read my post and then commented on it too! Wow, what a very big treat for me. I don’t think that you’re ‘just a man’, then again, when we get down to the idea that we have value simply because we breathe, it makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it?

    Thank you for sharing in my very new and very extraordinary experience.

  18. Sandra Parrotto on December 10th, 2010 4:16 am

    I love the rapid fire nature of twitter, and so I found you, Terez, or you found me… I felt a huge rush finding someone else who “did relationships” and then for you to read my post about a “relationship’ when we’d just met, WOW! if you’re relatively new, like me – then we have a great opp’y to learn together. I look forward to sharing “intimacy” thoughts with you.

  19. Sandra Parrotto on December 10th, 2010 4:22 am

    Jeannette, I couldn’t wait to hear your feedback. You’ve been such a huge part of building my emotional experience through usguys. And after reading your comments, I continue to know exactly why I receive so much relationship from you. It says it all in your willingness to admit envy, your showing pics of your xmas tree, our chats about “girls who rock” from the 70’s and 80’s. I think the more we share those things, the more we think, I’ve gotta get closer to this person.

    Thinking that skype is in our future. Funny how we haven’t done it yet. For some reason with you, I kept waiting for a genuine “in the flesh” moment. Our tribe is growing, Jeannette, precisely because of who YOU are. Thanks for connecting, reading and commenting – hugs!

  20. Natasha Barton on December 10th, 2010 4:57 am

    Totally jealous and impressed. Love from London and Moi. X

  21. Veron Graham on December 14th, 2010 10:30 am

    Hi Sandra,
    I can tell a lot about your personality and authenticity by just reading this. Your thoughts on genuine human interaction really strike at the heart of so many things.

    Admittedly, I haven’t said hello much on #usguys, but I’m always impressed by the dialogue, and community building ideas.

    GREAT POST :->

  22. Sandra Parrotto on December 15th, 2010 4:45 am

    Hi Natasha, You have the most incredible energy, to think you would have created the space to read my post – just WOW! – thanks for your comment!

  23. Sandra Parrotto on December 15th, 2010 4:47 am

    I have this sense, Veron, that you really get what I’m writing about. I have been really amazed that you figured out how to start a blog that deals with the questions that people think about but only rarely discuss. Finding you on the stream and getting to share my first post with you is pretty special. Thanks for including me in your world!

  24. Dane Findley on February 25th, 2011 1:08 pm

    It makes me wonder if we shouldn’t compile—in one place—all of the stories from #usguys that are on the topic of, “we met on Twitter and this is what happened when we met In Real Life (IRL).” It would be fascinating to hear them all!

    Are there are any other #usguys in Southern California besides me and @masonry?

    Sam, I hope I can meet you, and @realchaseadams, in real life, one day soon! Thank you for putting a voice to the internal process that happens as we shepherd a relationship from the digital space to the physical space. (and Jill, thanks for creating space for this post on your site!)

    { twitter = @danenow }





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