I’m a little burned out on networking these days, but when I found out my new media idol, Chris Brogan, was going to be at Podcast Expo a mere 40 miles from my house, I couldn’t resist the chance to drive out and meet him.

We found a little seating area off to one side of the Convention Center lobby and just hung out for about an hour, which was every bit as engaging as I’d hoped. More, even. I’ve never been so relaxed nor had so much fun meeting someone at a networking event. And I think a huge reason was that I wasn’t there to network: I was there to meet an online friend I’d been curious to meet.

What was surprising to me was how much fun this un-networking was for Chris, too. He blogged today about how especially exhilirating his experiences outside of the conference were. How more cool stuff happened outside of the conference, in the cracks, than at the event itself. And Brogan is the Networking King—he knew every third person there, and was at ease talking to everyone.

Not a bad reminder that sometimes, the good stuff happens in the cracks, between the "official" stuff. You never know where your next interesting experience, your next enthralling conversation, your next amazing connection will come from.

As long as you leave yourself open to the possibility, of course…