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