So I’m Dutch and I’m in no way a native English speaker. I do ok, blog in English, get myself understood and can even be relatively ‘witty’ in my Social Media responses. It has allowed me to interact and connect to numerous people around the world and it has even given me some new friends. Ok, yes, I know. How can you call them friends without ever meeting them?!? But with some of them they really do feel like friends.
And in about 48 hours I’m flying out to Lotusphere to actually meet them….
I can’t wait! I look forward to really meeting these people but at the same time I’m a bit apprehensive too. Truth is that connecting over the internet really isn’t the same as connecting in real life. Apart from the obvious facts that Social Media allows you to filter out the less attractive and boring elements of your personality it also helps eliminate language borders.
Again, as a non-native English speaker I think I do pretty well, but I do mess up…. regularly…. This has lead to several funny (and embarrassing) instances and confusions where I tried to express something which actually came out as something totally different.
My Dutch colleagues would now argue I don’t just do that in English, bytheway…
Saving factor here though is that as Social Media is mostly a ‘written’ form of communication it has something of a grace period. Allowing you to at least think for two seconds and read back that post, tweet or chat message (as well as having a spelling control) before clicking the ‘send’ button. Believe me, I’ve become a regular speed-Googler over the last few months and have Urban Dictionary bookmarked as a favorite. Problem is though, these don’t yet come as build in options for my mind and so I will have to do without my regular safety nets next week…
….So that’s why, even with all my enthusiasm about going to Lotusphere I’m also still feeling a bit apprehensive about talking to all of you with whom I’ve been chatting, Tweeting and Facebooking. Not knowing, whether I will be able to actually have the same kind of spontaneous interaction without having Google & spell checker at my fingertips is daunting….It almost feels like sitting my high school exams again.
Luckily for me I’m also pretty sure most of you guys will forgive me for my little language-mishaps. And if I do ‘confumble’ my English big time and mess up I can only hope you guys will look through it and have a laugh with me about it. It’s all in good spirit!