This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on August 27, 2008.

The new world of blogging, Twittering, Facebook etc is called social media. It’s about interacting with other people, building and sharing experiences and ideas and working together to create new ones. In this case, the medium truly is the message, and Vancouver’s social media fans really like to emphasize the social part.

DotComPho is one of the longest running events on the social media calendar, as creator John Chow estimates he’s been meeting with colleagues as part of a weekly ritual since 2001.

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“I’ve been going for weekly Pho noodles for as long as I can remember,” he says. “And always told anyone who wish to meet up to come out for a bowl.”

Every Saturday the invitation is open to join John and friends, usually in Richmond at Pho Lan.

Michael Kwan, is one of the DotComPho regulars and appreciates the chance to meet people while doing a job that usually requires a lot of alone time.

“I work from home as a freelance writer, so I don’t get the same kind of office co-worker camaraderie that you would experience at a conventional job,” says Kwan

Raul Pachecois the organizer of the monthly Vancouver Bloggers Meetup. He’s only really been active on the local scene in the past year, but finds the social part of social media crucial to becoming a better blogger.

“Meeting people in person gives me a sense of who the blogger behind the blog is,” says Raul. “Moreover, it has helped me with my own blog, as most of the people I have met are very immersed in Vancouver’s tech scene, and they are very knowledgeable and willing to help.”

“We may not all belong to the same corporation, per se, but it’s almost like we are co-workers striving toward the same common goals,” agrees Kwan.

Every week could easily be filled with 3 or more camps, meetups, or impromptu gatherings created on Twitter called tweetups.

One such tweetup happened earlier this month, when Jordan Behan invited all his Twitter followers to join him for lunch the next day in Gastown. Sure, some of those who came along were colleagues, but some were total strangers who only knew Jordan through the web, like Karen Hamilton.

At first, Karen was a little nervous about walking up to people she had only ever followed online, and had never really “met”

“Everyone was so open and friendly,” Karen writes at tinybites.ca. “I’ll try not to be quite so timid for [the next] one!”

And that’s the message the local scene would like to spread. Whether you’re a blogstar, or just starting out, it’s called social media for a reason, get out and be sociable!

Flickr image by Michael Kwan

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