Chat Room

For several months now I have been wanting to attend a Refresh Phoenix meeting.   It’s a group of high-tech types who get together to discuss all things Internet and software.   They only meet once a month and it seems that past meetings just didn’t fit into my schedule.   Finally this month I was determined I would go.   It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything where you go somewhere that you don’t know a soul and try and get acquainted with people.   Actually, I did know one person there, Erica, who helps organize the meetings.   I met her through her blog a couple of months ago.   It was nice to meet her in person.

The meeting was interesting and I’m glad I went because it will be that much easier to go next time now that I know what to expect.   Unfortunately I didn’t meet anyone other than Erica.   There were 50 people there but I guess I’m just too shy.   Either that, or it was the accessibility issues that came into play.   Yes, I’m going to play the gimp card here.   You’ll see why it fits in a minute.

The meeting was at a coffee house with little tables and chairs everywhere, thus making it hard for someone in a wheelchair to move about the room.   Some of the little tables were put together making larger tables, like a conference table, and groups of people had gathered around them thus making social interaction possible, even amongst strangers.   My big mistake was to sit at a small table.   Thus no one else came to sit at the table even though there were three other chairs available (Norm was in one of them).   It was just too small and did not give us an opportunity for easy and less awkward social interaction.   Next time I attend one of these meetings I’ll be sure to sit at a group of tables!

I much prefer meeting people on the Internet like in a chat room.   There are no accessibility barriers for me in a chat room setting.   I can participate in any conversation and introduce myself to other people because I don’t have to worry about navigating a room filled with chairs and tables and people standing and sitting everywhere.   Alas, life is not like a chat room.

1 Comment

  1. Chuck Reynolds
    Jan 11, 2008

    Hey Karen

    Thanks for coming to a Refresh! I know Erica was pretty stoked we had so many people this time. I’m super bad at meeting people too; I’m a developing computer guy – I like my dark no phone no people environments lol.

    It’s sad? to think that all of the web developers we have that preach about accessibility of our code and sites and yet our meeting area is a complete mess… haha typical coders we are. Hey there’s always bugs right?

    I’d say get your way to the middle at least because it seems the last handful of these we’ve had the speaker is on that side and also the screen is over there if/when we use it. Plus it’s easier to hear.

    Anyways, thanks for coming and see ya at the next one (maybe, tuesdays are softball nights for me).