It has been a busy couple of weeks as I have been emerging from hibernation and finding my way back out into the wild. There seems there have been a variety of events happening in and around Boston signaling the renewed spirit that comes with spring. It has been refreshing. We exhibited at the kick off event for Mass Innovation Nights last night in Waltham. It was a pleasant surprise to see the number of people milling around the Charles River Museum of Industry. It was especially fun for me to return to my hometown and see what has changed and what is the same. Walking down Moody Street was pretty surreal. All this activity also got me thinking about my own social habits and what makes me most comfortable when I network. I attended the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World last week which was literally a tradeshow online, complete with exhibit booths and background chatter. And while I enjoyed the sessions and thought they did an excellent job pulling it together, I found it incredibly rude of the attendees that were in the virtual auditoriums using their “semi-anonymity” to make fun of and mock the presenters. I highly doubt they would be doing the same thing if they were sitting in a room listening to that person, so why did they feel they could do it virtually? Has the social network aspect of our society made it acceptable to publish unflattering or disrespectful remarks because we can stay behind a wall where no one really gets to know us? Last night was the complete opposite. This event was marketed solely through social media. We blogged, tweeted and retweeted to get supporters. I know our company was excited to see the outcome. What I found even more exciting was that I was going to have the chance to shake the hands of people who, up to this point, had been a 1X1 photo on Twitter. I don’t live close to Boston proper so I have missed many of the @bostontweetup events in our area, but this night certainly proved that you can mix social media outreach with real-life interactions and find success. I’ll probably continue to attend the virtual events as I think they have some benefits, particularly a clear cost benefit of not having to travel the country to attend, but I think those that attend should keep in mind that if you wouldn’t say it to someone in person, you probably shouldn’t type it about them online. Very distasteful. Check out other reactions to Mass Innovation Nights from TweetWorks, The Lost Jacket or search #MIN on Twitter.