Yes, this is correct. I am never going to another tech happy hour in Austin again. I don’t care if Michael Arrington shows up. I don’t care if Obama shows up. I don’t care. I am a former athlete and I don’t like drinking that much, and there is a lot better use of my time.
I look at the 2.0 community, and I see a lot of people who think they have very progressive ideas about “community”. It seems like people really like patting themselves on the back for it. When I go to happy hours, I see a lot of people buying enough booze to get comfortable but not too much as to embarrass themselves, just trying to network. There is nothing wrong with networking, but there are ways to network that actually accomplish goals, i.e. actually “being” progressive. Last night, I learned a lot about Google Chrome at the Refresh Austin meeting. We had drinks, but the meeting centered on learning how it would change the scope of the internet. Lynn Bender’s last GeekAustin meeting brought together people for a very useful open source project called OpenSims. Mando Escamilla and Whurley presented. The Blood Drive Tweetup I organized with David Neff and attended by the coolest Tweeps ever helped save dozens of lives. For the Hamup Tweetup, Mike Chapman brought Tyson’s Foods in the equation, who donated 35,000 POUNDS OF FOOD TO LOCAL AUSTINITES IN NEED (and a resounding “w00t” for both of them :D). Come on Saturday to volunteer or bring food. I guarantee that you will indeed network with other people.
Work hard for your clients or company. Volunteer for an open source project. Educate people (and notice, I say EDUCATE instead of SELF PROMOTE) at a Refresh Austin, GeekAustin, or Austin Social Media Club event. Give your time to the community in need. All of these will earn you more respect in your field than chugging away drinks and talking away at a happy hour. After all, you can get a conversation started, or you can take all of the conversations people are already having, screaming, wanting to be fixed, and actually do something about them.