major league baseball proves that meetups work in the age of digital and social media

The Major League Baseball season is a long one.  162 games from April until September.  Then players begin to play for a chance at immortality.

Before this though there is Spring Training.  And prior to Spring Training is the popular Winter Meetings (usually in a nice hot climate.  This year is was at Disney in Florida.)

Something interesting always happens at these meetings.  Big name free agents get signed.  Roster altering trades happen between teams.  Managers get fired or hired.

Big moves during a 3 day period.  Why?

I don’t believe that it’s because managers are tweaking their rosters for the long season ahead.  It’s not because General Managers begin their work during the Winter Meetings:  They tend to work almost everyday of the year.  Even during the winter season.

What happens during the Winter Meetings that results in deals either beginning or being consummated.

I believe it’s because there is a Winter Meeting.

General Managers don’t have an opportunity to meet like this all together during the season (except for the All-Star break).

There is something comforting, safe and natural in conducting business with people you can actually see and “press the flesh” with.  There is only so much one can do over the phone, email or other digital and social channels.

Let’s translate that to this ever-changing world of digital and social media.  We communicate with others online in these social spaces.  Some even develop friendships.  Others conduct research and crowdsourcing for projects this way too.  And there are cases when productive work and business gets done.

However, I am a firm believer that when the opportunity arises people, brands and businesses should take the opportunity to meet face-to-face.  Relationships become stronger.  Trust becomes built. We put faces to names, voices and avatars.

Something powerful happens when people get together in their “protein forms” (credit to Mitch Joel for that term).

Just ask the Boston Red Sox and Carl Crawford.