One of my biggest pet peeves is that people think that all real life personal connections have been lost with the advent of new online social channels. They believe that mass numbers simply hide behind a screen constantly, becoming anti-social.
While I will fully admit that most people are spending more time in front of a screen, I want to scream the following from the rooftops:
Social media builds relationships, it doesn’t remove the need for them!
Online to offline
Twitter is especially amazing for this, as are Facebook (or LinkedIn or Google+) groups. You meet new people, you have conversations about the subjects you have in common and then, whenever possible, you bring those relationships offline and build on them.
Karen and I met on Twitter.
My core group of friends that I hang out with, I met on Twitter/online.
My kids’ friends are the kids of the people I met on Twitter/online.
Many of our current clients met us online.
People are eager to bring the relationship offline, and also maintain it offline.
Offline to online
Whenever I meet someone “in real life”, at a conference, at a meeting, at a networking event, etc., I like to connect with them online later. Perhaps we connect on LinkedIn, or I tweet them, or I friend them on Facebook.
What could have been a really superficial meeting at a networking event just got taken to the next level of a relationship within the same day or two. What would have happened before? Perhaps an email would have been sent, or you would have waited until you ran into each other at a networking event and possibly remembered you met each other before.
You are keeping top of mind on a regular basis with people you met in person by continuing that relationship online.
Communities of support
Whether I started a relationship online or offline, the online community I’ve built for myself supports in me in almost every part of my life. Whether I have a business question or a parenting question, I know where I can go and ask people I trust for the answer.
I’ve never felt so connected to others in my life.
Has social media helped build your community? Leave a comment and share how!