I just got back from an ExtJS meetup going over some of the new ExtJS 4 features. Aside from the NOVA Python group, this was the first developer focused meetup I’ve been at in awhile. The most striking part of the meetup was that nobody introduced themselves. People showed up right on time, and everyone left once the show was over.
This isn’t really surprising of course. Developers care more about the code and that side of things then the social interaction. I always did. Normally the only time I would bother meeting new people is if somebody asked a question that particularly interested me, or if I was simply approached first.
I’ve just been to so many investor events recently that it felt different to not hand out all my business cards and learn 8 new names. I don’t think I gave out a single card, and I only met one new person. It just made me think about how important social interaction is. Following tweets and github accounts only goes so far. Connecting with people in the community really makes a difference.
This is why at NOVA Python I try to meet everybody and get everybody to talk about themselves to the group. That is what the meetup is about in my mind. Anything new that gets presented could be done on a video and everybody could stay home and save time. The whole point of the meetup is to meet people. That doesn’t mean you have to make inane small talk like at a business chamber event. You are there for the purpose of meeting like minded people. Take advantage!