BFTP: So, how does one tell the axe-murderers from the con-artists?

This repost is part of our Summer Slowdown program of revisiting the blog archives, and was originally published in February 2006. I’m including this not because it’s anything special as a piece of writing, but because of how times seem to have changed so quickly over the last few years regarding meatspace meetups of cyberbuddies – I don’t think anyone hardly bats an eye any more.

A cup of latte with barista art of a ringed planet with a moon surrounded by stars

Latte Art | via Extremely Weird Blog

I’m off shortly to the Sydney latte-blog get-together. I’ve got together IRL with net-buddies before in my USENet days, and shared fun and hospitality, but whenever I speak of it to people who don’t interact online they are always concerned re the safety aspects of meeting up with people I’ve never seen.

I think coffee and gelato in crowded Saturday afternoon Leichhardt is safe enough apart from the assault on one’s sensiblities from the decor, and the sense of personality one absorbs from reading someone day after day is probably more reliable than one’s instincts about co-workers, gym-buddies or the blokes down the footy club.

Still, if I never come back, track down Suki and Susoz, and either wreak vengeance or form a posse with their grieving relatives.

UPDATE: Belay that posse alert – we’re all fine!

As well as the two grrls named Su, I met Tim of Deltoid, Flashman of Electron Soup, Morgan of Morgspace and Weezil of MGK. Apart from wilting a bit in the heat and humidity, we were as pleasant a bunch of lunchers as could be imagined. Looking forward to an April Fool’s Blogger’s Picnic in the Botanical Gardens, on which more details shall be forthcoming.

Footnote January 2011: This post might as well act as yet another reminder that there is a Sydney Summery Meetup for feminist bloggers this coming Sunday afternoon, at Coogee Beach, coordinated by the fabulous Chally. Looking forward to seeing you all there who are planning to be there!

Categories: Life

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13 replies

  1. Yeah, I haven’t encountered too much of a second glance about this lately, let alone “should we have a safety plan in place?” (from people who wouldn’t do so for say, a political meeting I’d read about in a newspaper, or a parent group meeting, or other comparable meetings with strangers).
    What changed this? Online dating? Facebook? Facebook means that quite a lot of people regularly interact with friends-of-friends now before meeting them, I’d think.

  2. I think it’s online dating. I know several people who gave me the hairy eyeball about invisible online friends 10 years ago who’ve now had several dating relationships with folks they met thru dating sites.
    Which is actually one situation where I routinely suggest that the first IRL meetup should be for a Sunday lunch somewhere crowded rather than for a romantic night out, but they don’t see why.

  3. Yes, I think it’s interesting the way “normal” people used to give you the hairy eyeball for meeting (usually in public places for coffee or lunch) people you knew from the internet, and now they are the ones meeting near-strangers under circumstances I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable with.

  4. Aside from safety, I’d be unsure I had enough hours of “romantic night out” conversation in me for a first meeting! But I haven’t dated on line, I’ve only hung out with geeks and feminists. With axes and cons ready to go.

  5. General online social coordination through networking sites like MeetUp are probably also having a less emotionally-fraught normalising effect than the dating sites – if half the people you know are going to monthly book groups or fortnightly cinema outings or regular bushwalks with everything coordinated through a social network application, I guess the whole going out with people you’ve only chatted with online thing suddenly becomes pretty ordinary.

  6. Which reminds me – anybody got a copy of Philip K Dick’s A Scanner Darkly lying around? Who could get it to Coogee on Sunday? It’s on the list for this month’s Philosophy in Literature Book Group, and it’s at least 20 years since I last read it.

  7. Oh geez! I have one, but our house has aten it! I’ll have a go at finding it, but could I get it to Sydney by Sunday? *Remembers it’s Thursday* Nah, probably not.
    What happened to Suky? I miss her. She came to a Melbourne meetup once, but Sydney based. I still see Weez commenting here and there sometimes.

  8. tigtog: I think we have one, I’ll confirm on Saturday.

  9. Annoyingly the only version for Kindle is not sold to us awfulterriblenogood Aussies. There are other e-book versions out there I could download that are probably legible on the Kindle but not ideal, but in any case I think for a discussion group having the dead-tree version is probably more the thing.
    So thanks in advance if you can find your copy! Otherwise I’ll bit the bullet and get a dodgy e-version.

  10. Are you going to include the film in the discussion, or the book only?

  11. So far as I know, only the book is “set”, although I suspect the film might come up. Until last week I didn’t even know there was a film!

  12. Sounds like a heapa fun this book group – have a good time and here’s hoping you find your copy.

  13. I’m hoping so – this will be my first time going. I’ve never been to an actual book group, only read about them and watch dramatic interpretations of them on the telly, so basically I have absolutely no idea what a real book group will be like. I like this one’s emphasis on philosophy, which I’ve never formally studied. I’m hoping it’s as good as it sounds.

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