I was wrong.
In fact, it was like any reunion of old friends, with everyone talking over each other and the topic of conversation constantly morphing and digressing off on tangents. It's amazing how easy to talk to they all were, even though we've never physically met.
A few years ago (well, more than a few) I had a similar experience when I was a part of the online community for my favorite band. We organized a gathering in Berlin over a weekend and once again, I was amazed at how easy it was to get along in person with people I'd only spoken to online before. In that instance, I did have a few weird moments where people I had assumed were men were women and vice-versa. One disadvantage to using nicknames, as opposed to real names.
Anyway, I really enjoyed talking to my crew, and hope to be able to do it again in the future. And perhaps with members of my other groups too!
Have you entered the contest yet? Only one week to go....