I don’t think I’ll ever get over my glee at the bizarreness of introducing myself to someone, only to have them exclaim, “You’re @hbillings!”
It’s like a “15 minutes of fame” rush. But it’s also really cool to meet people in person whom you’ve only talked to in short bursts of text before. Somehow, there’s always that little revelation: “Oh, you really ARE a real person!”
I did a whole lot of meeting those kinds of people Thursday at ONADC.
Ever since I found out I was moving to DC, which was back in December (!), I’ve looked forward to participating in the groups of geekery that exist here: Python, jQuery, WordPress, and most of all ONA. I had unfortunately had to miss June’s ONA meetup, but oh man, did July’s ever make up for it.
Held on the rooftop of the Huffington Post’s DC building, the semiannual mixer had perfect weather and sunset views of the monuments. For a long time, I just stood by the balcony, thinking, “There is no way I am actually right here, seeing this, surrounded by these people. No way.” And then, before you know it, I had someone else recognizing me from my tiny black-and-white Twitter avatar.
I did my share of recognizing, too, though I must admit that @vaguity eluded me. Since all that’s visible in his photo is a close-up of his glasses frames, I found myself wandering around staring every four-eyed guy in the face, trying to figure out which one he was. (We did eventually get to meet, but it required a guide.)
The night included lots of great discussion about journalism (including the future of broadcast, a subject I feel is often overlooked), a few possible job leads (please let me stay in DC *fingers crossed*), an excellent open bar (but don’t ever try to match a Texan when there’s bourbon on the line) and a midnight meal at Busboys & Poets (rapidly becoming one of my favorite hangouts).
It was such an awesome evening that I didn’t even mind working late into Friday night and all day Saturday. More about that project on Monday. ;-)