If you hang around San Francisco enough you are bound to run into technology people who's blogs you follow. And although I read quite a few blogs, there are relatively few people who follow mine which means the chances that I'll recognize somebody is higher than the chance they will recognize me. To make matters worse, they won't recognize the work I do unless they happen to work in a small corner of the financial industry.
Yesterday K and I attended the Treasure Island music festival, and we queued up for the Ferris Wheel directly behind Evan Williams (and no I wasn't following his tweets (although some 3000 people were)). I think it is fair to say that Evan Williams is one of the reasons people know what blogging even is.
Having the social skills of your typical geek, I had one of those moments where I wondered what to do. Should I introduce myself, or just not say anything? I did introduce myself, but the exchange was about as comfortable as you would imagine (not very).
To equate this to the offline world, imagine an author who hasn't gone mainstream, but who's work you admire. If she is queued ahead of you at Starbuck's. What do you say? "I love your new book?" What else is there to say?
And this isn't first time this has happened to me.
This is a new problem of the online social networked world. The long tail of fame creates people, such as Robert Scoble, who many would recognize, but are not famous. And the chances that you'll meet one of these people hanging out in the Mission District is actually pretty high.