How often do you talk to your closest friends? Once a day? On the phone or via text? For me, I talk to my closest friend probably every other day. Now think about how often you converse with your Twitter community. I talk to PRBreakfastClub and #prbc on a daily basis. The great connections I’ve made from Twitter have moved on to other platforms like e-mail and G-chat.
It is amazing the bonds that are built without ever meeting someone in real life. I bet you may not have known that PRBreakfastClub was started with some members having never met each other in real life. Last week was the first time we could say we’ve all finally met in person. However, I do want to reinforce the importance of face-to-face communication and how to take these connections we’ve made online into “real life.”
- Be open to conversing on other platforms besides Twitter. When I first started tweeting, I realized that my banter with my community was a bit over the top. I started to use Twitter like instant messaging. If there is a lot of back and forth I often direct message the individual suggesting to move the conversation to e-mail to dive deeper into the topic. From there it often organically moves to g-chat. For example, I connected with Kasey because of a blog post he wrote that really got me thinking. We started to e-mail and now he’s my favorite person to go to when I need someone to play devil’s advocate.
- Share information. Similar to Twitter, use the new platform you’re communicating on to share fun or interesting information. My favorite aspect about G-mail and G-chat is it allows you to add them to your Google reader. This gives you an idea of what they’re interested in and sparks new conversations to continue building your relationship.
- Attend tweetups. Tweet-ups are the easiest way to break the ice and meet your Twitter community in real life. Some people are very nervous to meet individually. At a tweet-up everyone’s nervous. Oddly enough, I met most of PRBC at my first ever tweet-up: Masquertweet. I was beyond nervous so I convinced my colleagues to come with me. This way I didn’t feel alone and I had a “go to” person in case I needed one.
- For those that are geographically close and comfortable meeting solo, suggest grabbing coffee, tea, lunch, etc. Unless you’re like us crazy PRBC’ers and make a trip to Boston just to visit our dear friends, Jeff and Jay. Regardless when meeting an online friend alone pick a public place and always meet them there. This may sound cautious or like it’s coming from your mother but you can never be too careful.
- Don’t be nervous about conversation. Chances are you chat with these people daily, at least Monday through Friday. Use the topics you discuss online to start the conversation. Keep the conversation light and fun. Everyone likes to laugh.
Ever since Masquertweet, I’ve attended a bunch of tweet-ups, went to lunch, or traveled to different cities to meet my favorite online friends. So far my biggest obstacle has been explaining to my family and friends who I’m going to meet and how I know them. My best answer has been “business colleagues.” These are just some ideas that have worked for me. I’d love to hear you’re ideas and experiences.
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