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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Inside the Clock Shadow Creamery, just before I bumped into Lori.
Inside the Clock Shadow Creamery, just before I bumped into Lori.

Hmmm, did we meet in person or on Facebook?

Yesterday, I attended the grand opening of the FIX building, 538 S. 2nd St., home of the Clock Shadow Creamery and Purple Door Ice Cream. After getting my son through the classic childhood trauma of licking his scoop of balsamic strawberry right onto the floor, I walked outside and ran into OnMilwaukee.com contributing writer, Lori Fredrich and her husband, Paul.

"Oh, hey," I said casually.

We proceeded to chat about ice cream flavors, whether or not we were touring the building and a few other this-and-thats. Then we departed.

But as I was walking away, it dawned on me that I might not have met Lori or Paul in person before. I started scrambling for memories, trying to remember if I met them at a work function in the past. I couldn't think of one.

Finally, I came to the conclusion I had not met them in person before, but because we are all such avid social media users – and I read Lori's articles religiously on OnMilwaukee.com – it really felt like we knew each other.

It's funny to think that because of social media we did not have the usual, "Nice to finally meet you in person" exchange. But it's a relief, actually. Instead of niceties, we just went right into it and talked about more interesting issues like whether or not the whiskey ice cream really tastes like whiskey or not.

So much has been written and said about how computers / social media are robbing us of real human contact, and I believe this to be true to an extent. But on the other hand, I find that technology connects me to others in a very human way.

I felt instantly comfortable in Lori's presence because I do know her. Through Facebook and Twitter, but still. Social media outlets serve a purpose I never thought about before: they are ice breakers. Platitude busters. In some cases, even first dates.

Before I wrote this, just to make sure I wasn't forgetting an in-person social interaction with Lori, I messaged her to ask, a bit sheepishly, if we had ever met before in person.

"I don't think we met in person before – though I don't blame you for being somewhat perplexed," she wrote back. "I really do feel like I probably know more about you than I ought."

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