Today, most twenty-something’s use social media to keep in touch with friends, share life updates and maintain relationships. But what about using social media to make new connections? Some people still find it odd that the online world can move offline with great success.
Twitter has a lot of power in those 140 characters, power that can be used to make great connections with people who you share a lot of common ground with. Maybe you follow the same restaurants, participate in the same twitter chats each week, work in the same industry, or are attending the same schools.
What can begin with a few tweets back and forth re-tweets and favoriting can be the basis of a very real and meaningful relationship. Some so-called experts will argue that online relationships are shallow and self-serving but that doesn’t have to be the case. Taking connections that begin online and turning them into IRL (in real life) relationships can create long lasting friendships or business relationships.
So how do you bring your online world into real life? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think.
Online interactions may take a few months and several back-and-forths to be ready to go offline. Here are a few tips to help you make it happen:
1. Interact often.
It seems simple, but it’s pretty easy and often overlooked. Make sure you’re doing more than just “liking” or “favoriting” tweets or photos. Comment and start bonding over shared experiences or interests.
2. Send a DM or an email.
It’s really important to expand your conversation beyond just a few tweets. Hop up in the DMs and have a deeper or more private conversation. If you live in the same city, it will probably be easy to then make some plans. If not, you may have to coordinate!
3. Let it happen naturally.
The best relationships aren’t forced–they are natural, organic, and authentic. If someone isn’t responsive to your efforts, it’s okay! Just move on and continue building relationships elsewhere.
Since you’ve already established a connection over something you both have in common, moving from online to offline usually happens seamlessly and is much less awkward than people originally assume.
1. Tweetups (AKA Twitter Meetups) are a great way to connect with your Twitter friends IRL.
Many cities host monthly Tweetups where members of the Twitter community get together and partake in an activity. These events can vary from meeting for drinks, going for walks, attending an event together, or working on skills such as photography.
A quick Google search should let you know if there are any tweetups in your area. If there aren’t, consider starting one yourself – you might be surprised with how many people are interested.
2. Professional networking events are also great ways to connect with your online friends if you work in the same industry particularly those with a marketing or social media focus.
Many professional organizations for all industries also have active social media accounts that you can use to connect with the organization and other members if you’re looking to expand your professional network. They will usually promote their industry events through their social networks so you will be aware of all upcoming events.
3. Finally–just get together.
Meet to do whatever it is you’ve bonded over whether it’s running, coffee, new restaurants, photography, your kids –anything counts. Set up a meeting in a public place and get over the idea that it’s weird to meet people online – it’s not.
You were both online in the first place for the purposes of making connections (if you weren’t then you’re using social media wrong) so get out there and be social. Online friends make great offline friends so take advantage of the tools offered by platforms such as twitter and create long lasting and beneficial relationships.
Your usual social group might give you a few weird looks the first time you tell them you’re meeting someone you met on Twitter but just laugh it off and go enjoy yourself.
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