Fill your Virtual Lunch Table: More Tips to Foster Online Engagement

tips for online engagement

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

My last post, Stop Eating your Virtual Lunch Alone, got such a good response that I decided to do a follow-up post with a few more tricks to making (and keeping!) internet friends.

While the tips I offered on my last post will help give you a good framework to operate in, these hints will help you be more effective in building these friendships.

  • Reach out when someone is being active online.

This one might require some stalking, but (work with me here!) pay attention to when one of your friends-to-be is online. If you notice that she’s super active on twitter during her lunch break, that is the perfect time to strike up a conversation. Obviously you can’t spend all of your time online waiting and watching, but if you notice activity, reach out.

  • Ask questions.

Questions beget answers. Worried that you don’t have anything to say to someone or don’t want to just send another “Great post!” tweet? Ask a question. Get curious. If someone is posting about all of her great Target finds but your store never has anything good, ask if she’s shopping in-person or online. However, when asking questions, be sure you…

  • Do your research.

Asking questions can be a great way to strike up conversation, but make sure that the questions you’re asking are relevant and previously-unanswered. Before you tweet someone asking how they got their start, check out their website and see what you can learn from their bio. I’d much rather be asked about how my experience as a cocktail waitress in my early 20’s helped prepare my for my coaching career than the oft-heard, “How did you end up doing what you’re doing?” which is covered in detail on my About page.

  • Don’t send crazy long emails.

We all get a crazy amount of emails these days. If you want to reach out to a stranger about something, keep it short! Explain what you’re working on, how they can be involved and what you’d need. Bonus points if you can keep it under 5 sentences! I promise that your short email is much more likely to get a response!

  • Don’t just go for the big dogs.

I know that there are world-famous bloggers who you’d love to be besties with. That’s part of what makes them so good at their jobs. They are relatable. BUT when venturing into the world of online friendships, remember, it’s not just about wooing Jordan Ferney or Joanna Goddard with your witty repartee. It’s about you connecting with people that make you laugh and inspire you.

If the idea of reaching out to people online still feels super intimidating, start small and slow. Pick one person who’s commented on your blog who seems really nice and start there. Or think about that one blogger who you feel like you have so much in common with. While these internet friendships don’t happen overnight, they can turn into real relationships. Remember: it’s possible that you have much more in common with strangers on the internet than with the people you spend most of your IRL time with!

Hop to it! If you want to be friends with me, I dare you to tweet me a question!

*Design by Brittni Mehlhoff

Tiffany Han, CPCC is a coach for highly-creative people who want to wake up happy. If you’re feeling the growing pains of running your creative business and are ready to STOP spinning your wheels and actually get stuff done, her blog is sure to light your fire.

11 comments | Click here to reply

[…] As our own bosses, we tend to spend a lot of time alone in our offices.  We forget what it’s like to go out and get lunch with our co-workers.  Thankfully Tiffany Han guest posted on the PapernStitch Blog and shared how to Fill Your Virtual Lunch Table – More Tips to Foster Online Engagement. […]

Link Hype 7-5-13

Thanks for this great informative post. Indeed, online conversations is not something to be taken for granted.


thanks for such a great post!
i only just started blogging after a long break… and the last time i had blogged was on livejournal years and years ago, when online friendships kind of just happened hahaha xD


More great tips! Thanks Tiffany.

When I reach out I remind myself that just like you don’t become besties with everyone you meet at a party, you won’t get close to everyone you reach out to online. And that’s OK!

Another lesson I’ve learnt is that reaching out to help someone is a great first step. You’re not starting a relationship asking for something, you’re giving something.

Anna Simmonds

Thanks for the advice! I’d love to widen my circle of blogger friends so this is really helpful!



Great post! Making friends online can be so intimidating. It’s definitely something I need to work at. Thanks for sharing some tips 🙂

Alex from

Alexandra Pettinato

Thanks for stopping by Allie and giving yourself that extra push to leave a comment.


This is very helpful! I should probably print this post out and tape it beside my desktop haha. I’ve always been more of a lurker on the internet than any, and I always need to give myself a little extra prodding to comment on posts I like (like what I’m doing now!) So thanks for this! 😉


This is very helpful! I should probably print this post out and tape it beside my desktop haha. I’ve always been more of a lurker on the internet than any, and I always need to give myself a little extra prodding to comment on posts I like (like what I’m doing now!) So thanks for this! 😉


Good for you Margeaux! I’ll have to spy on Tiffany’s twitter stream to see the convos. 🙂 Love her dare in today’s post.


Thank you once again for a great post, Tiffany! Your last one was fantastic as well. Also – I will be taking you up on your tweet dare. Right now I have too many questions, haha. I’ll have to make a top 5 list and start there.

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