Stop Eating your Virtual Lunch Alone: The Quick Start Guide to Making Friends on the Internet

online-friendships

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

Everyone talks about community as a way to stay connected in the online world, promote your creative business, and have more fun.

But where do you start? It’s often hard to find your entrée, especially when it seems like everyone out there is already omgbesties with each other.

Tired of sitting at a table all by your lonesome at lunch? Here’s a quick start guide to making friends on the internet:

1. Start a conversation.

This one seems simple – and lots have said it before – but starting a conversation can be a great way to get the friend-ball rolling. Tip: Create a secret twitter list of people you want to be friends with. Watch their tweets and respond when you have something meaningful to say. Responding with nothing but “Great post!” likely won’t get you more than a thank you, so consider what you can add to the conversation.

Did you love Brittni’s latest DIY (so adorable, right?!) and are excited to duplicate it using your collection of vintage pillowcases? Tell her!

Did someone’s recent blog post about transition resonate with you so much that you had tears in your eyes? Tell her!

This is the time to step out of your comfort zone and start becoming an internet chatterbox! While you may not receive responses from everyone, these conversations will create a momentum. I have real-life friends who I met on the twitter. It can happen for you too.

2. But, don’t be a stalker.

While you may want to respond to every single post in your secret “be my friend please” twitter list, consider being on the receiving end and how you might take someone responding to every twitter post you make. Remember, we’re going for meaningful conversation here, and it’s likely that you aren’t going to have something contributory to say about each post. Quality is what counts in the making friends game, not quantity.

3. Step outside your niche.

There’s a feeling amongst us that we need to be bffs with everyone who’s doing what we are on the internet. But if you’re a photographer, you’d be very well-served getting to know people in complementary industries. You are a gorgeous photographer, so while it’s good to know other shutterbugs, you might really want to get to know some stylists, event planners, and DIY bloggers.

Think beyond your niche and identify people you could collaborate with one day. How can you support other people while they support you as well? Everyone loves a win-win.

Your turn: do you have any good strategies for fostering online community? Any twitter bff-love stories to share?

*Photo & design by Brittni Mehlhoff. Note: Franz + Gertie are definitely BFFs.

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 spining your wheels and actually get stuff done, her new 3-month program Glitterbomb Your Business is for you.

26 comments | Click here to reply

[…] 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 […]

Fill your Virtual Lunch Table: More Tips to Foster Online Engagement | Paper & Stitch

Nice post Tiffany! I would like to quote this one “There’s a feeling amongst us that we need to be bffs with everyone who’s doing what we are on the internet.”

I totally agree with this one… The internet has been a very effective tool for communication and we simply enjoy meeting people and friends through it. However, let is not forget to set limits. You really don’t know who you meet and converse with over the web. It will be totally a win-win if you enjoy it, but with strict caution. 🙂

Sue | London Life Coach

Great post! I have such a hard time making online buddies–and it’s mostly because I feel like a stalker-y weirdo. For some reason it’s much easier for me in person, but online I end up lurking from the shadows.

Thanks for the little shove to put myself out there a little bit more. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Jen @ Cuddles and Chaos

This is a really great post. I always find it so daunting to begin speaking to people online, but when you put it like that, it’s not a hard thing to do 🙂
x

Emily Marj

This is a good kick in the pants for me! I have always been super paranoid about the internet (I even kept my blog a secret – from EVERYONE – for a year) but I know there’s other girls like me out there, and I wish I knew them for real!

I mean, there’s only so much my boyfriend can take of me blabbering about new scrapbook paper or the new She & Him album.

Lisa

I love these posts you do, Tiffany! Always such great wisdom. I have definitely benefited from putting myself out there more and reaching out to those I look up to. Plus, when my online role models respond, it makes my day and makes me feel like one of the cool kids. 😉

Casey

I love the “be my friend please” list idea. Their are a few I already know that I would want to add yo my list 🙂

Tanya

I made some of my BFFs on a band forum some ten years (omg) ago! We live in different countries and we don’t all listen to the same music anymore, but we’re a tight group. We are (long distance) real life friends these days, but the foundations were set online. So I am a big believer in making friends on the Internet. 🙂 xx

http://reindeertrails.blogspot.com.es

Kaisa

Great post.

Lana Patchett

I’ve met a lot of bloggers through Facebook – following people and making relevant comments and by asking genuine questions that I actually want to know the answers to. I met my best online friend by emailing her and asking if I could post one of her photos from a tutorial.

truebluemeandyou

You get so much if you take the time to comment and read blogs! I met now real life friends from blogging, a d we have collaborative projects together. It is amazing! I could not get the community I wanted at work so I decided to get it from the blog. Did not think of making a list though, seems to be the next proactive step! Thanks for the tip!

Nat @ Made in Home

Yes to this – you get back what you put in.

The biggest thing for me is when I make authentic comments and tweets. That doesn’t mean that it’s always something SERIOUS or PONDEROUS but that I take the time to write something relevant.

99% of people respond well. A few don’t but that’s cool – you won’t click with everyone.

And THIS is why I ADORE twitter. The banter – it’s just a blast.

Sandra

Yes to this – you get back what you put in.

The biggest thing for me is when I make authentic comments and tweets. That doesn’t mean that it’s always something SERIOUS or PONDEROUS but that I take the time to write something relevant.

99% of people respond well. A few don’t but that’s cool – you won’t click with everyone.

And THIS is why I ADORE twitter. The banter – it’s just a blast.

Sandra

Great idea for a post. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I just started blogging a few months ago and it is difficult to gain readers/pick up momentum. Another post in this series with a few more tips would be really appreciated!

Vanessa

Lovely article, I was always really bad at comments before I had my own blog, and I definitely find that people respond more the more you genuinely comment on their posts.<3

Sammy

Really great post! Got some useful information<3

http://greettagrace.blogspot.com

Greetta Grace

I’ve definitely been trying to work more on that last one, making friends outside the niche. I used to be all about responding and making friends on Twitter, need to get back on that.

I met my best “online” pal via my old “Resident Evil” high school era video game website and we’ve been friends for over a decade! We met a couple of years ago, flew to Vegas on a whim after a duplicate set of heart breaks, and had a life-changing blast. I truly believe in the power of connecting with like-minded souls online.

Van

“Stop Eating your Virtual Lunch Alone” oh my goodness, this is so where I’m at in life! I always wanted to work from home, but I never realized how isolating it would be. I’m going to start commenting more on the blogs I read. Thanks for the encouragement!

Karla

Love that last sentence Nicole…put niceness out there and you will get niceness back. So true. Thanks for stopping by.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Great post. Over the years the thing I’ve realized the most is, if you make an effort to post a comment somewhere, those people will almost always reciprocate! I was super shy online at first, but soon realized that mostly people are good, and appreciate feedback/comments/etc. Put niceness out there and you will (almost always) get niceness back 😀

Nicole Underwood
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