Social networking for me has come to mean spending even more time on my computer: checking status updates on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, network updates on LinkedIN and most recently "who's where" on BrightKite.
I get a lot out of this extra screen time. I reconnect with old and new friends on Facebook, keep open channels with past and present colleagues on LinkedIN, get breaking news and information on topics I'm interested in through Twitter. Yet, I've run out of time to get myself out there in the real world to meet new people face-to-face.
The trouble with face-to-face networking I've found is that we tend to get shy. The beauty of online social networking sites is no one is bashful. Strangers easily connect with strangers and openly share information, both personal and professional. Myself included.
This week, I started to wonder if face-to-face social networking would be less intimidating if it was couched in something else people are always trying find time to do -- exercise. The challenge is finding an exercise that provides a good but fast workout and ability to talk.
Swimming, for instance, doesn't work.
Jumping rope, does. In 10 minute intervals, you can burn up to 160 calories. It's also easy to do and it's a great outdoor exercise (perfect for the warm weather coming).
With all this in mind, I kicked off a Never B4 social networking experiment this week to see if I can build a neighborhood jump rope group to connect neighborhood professionals (face-to-face), provide intense exercise quickly and let us all get a little fresh air and fun before work.
So far, I found a location to meet -- John Jay Park. The basketball courts there are deserted at that hour and the breeze off the river is refreshing. I went for my first day-break jumping session on Friday and got a great workout in just 20 minutes.
As you can see, I need to brush up on my jumping skills before leading a group. At this point, I can only do the traditional 2-foot jumping. I think I'll wait until I can do all the "moves" before officially inviting others to join.
My goal is to have the group up and running by mid-May and have it go through the summer. A mid-May start will give me time to become a stronger jumper and also advertise the idea. It will be interesting to see if people will be brave enough to join, or shy away to the anonymity of online networking.
If you know anyone living on the upper east side of NYC and think they might be interested in joining this jump rope group, please ask them to email me (email@example.com). Or, if you have thoughts, question or suggestions about this or future Never B4 ideas, post a comment.