I’ve always known that social media was a great way to connect to people I already knew. I didn’t realize how great it was going to be to meet people I didn’t know yet. As you know I moved to Portland about a year and half ago and that’s when it really started to happen for me. I volunteered as the Social Media Manager for WordCamp Portland and I have met so many great people because of that one act. It was a stepping stone to really build online relationships through social media. Needless to say I have built friendships that I truly am thankful for.
I think online relationships are important. Just like an in person relationship you form a bond with people if you make yourself available and vulnerable to do so. The only difference is you haven’t actually met this person other than through online communications.
You will find you have things in common with other people online. You will learn from others. You will build a bond that may create a long lasting friendship whether you meet this person in a face to face situation or not.
Where Does This Happen?
It happens where ever you are online. Whether that’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc…. The where isn’t the most important question. It’s the how. How does one build a relationship online?
How Do You Build A Relationship Online?
For me it happened on Twitter. I was communicating out information for WordCamp Portland and it was so exciting to have interaction with the WCPDX community. People were actually using Twitter as a communication tool. It wasn’t just a one way street. I was invigorated by the questions, the comments, and the retweets of my content.
The most engaging person was Bridget Willard (You Too Can Be A Guru). I started following her on Twitter from my personal account and that lead to conversations, learning, and eventually connecting via Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We connect on one or several channels almost every day. I am proud to call her my friend. We have not met in person yet but I know we will one day.
Bridget was a bridge for me to meet other people who I now call friends as well. She suggested I join in on a tweetchat called #DigiBlogChat that Carol Stephen’s moderates. I didn’t really know what a tweetchat was but I thought it would be interesting to check it out. So I did!
I have been attending for about a year now and because of this weekly get together online I have met and bonded with so many other people that I would not have met if I hadn’t joined the tweetchat.
I feel as if I have a tribe now that I can joke with, learn from, and we can help each other out. The online relationships I have built over the past year mean so much to me that I call them my friends. Here are just a few of my online friends:
Meeting In Person
Recently I went to WordCamp Seattle. I love attending WordCamps to learn and meet people. To my surprise one of my online friends was a volunteer at WordCamp Seattle. I didn’t know this until the morning of on my way to attend.
I was on my way when I decided to take a look at Instagram. The first pic in my feed was from Robert Nissenbaum from Tactical Social Media who I had met on DigiBlogChat! I was so excited to know that we were finally going to meet in person!
It was a GREAT way to kick off the day. He was at the registration booth when I walked up. We immediately hugged! It was GREAT to see him in person and you wouldn’t have known that we hadn’t ever met before face to face.
Throughout the day we got to chat several times, take a selfie together, and attend one of the sessions together. Seeing him in person was my favorite part of the event.
Why Are Online Relationships Important?
Getting back to the original question, why are online relationships important? For me it’s two fold. Personally they are important to me because I am making friends and building my tribe. Everyone needs to feel like they belong. Professionally I am learning, growing, and making connections. We are there for each other personally and professionally.
In today’s world I just don’t see why you wouldn’t want to build online relationships personally or professionally. We all need a tribe.