How To Truly Engage With Social Networks

Two_hands_reaching (image from Big Stock Photo)As a blogger you’re into engaging with your audience, right?

You enjoy getting comments because it means you’ve inspired someone to interact. You reply back to establish an even more meaningful relationship.

Being social, at a distance

Social networks enable still deeper connections. Here’s where you can reach any number of people who share similar interests. You tweet, send Facebook messages, get involved in LinkedIn discussions, and so forth, to engage with followers, friends and readers.

How very nice. You’re being social.

But it’s all at a distance.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Even so, I propose making a resolution for the coming year to get even more social with cyber acquaintances. Have an honest to goodness conversation and meet, in person, some of the people you’ve come to know online.

Get social, in the real world

This idea sprung to mind yesterday, after I had a nice long chat with a Twitter pal named Avi. We’d been following our respective public tweets, retweeting one another and occasionally direct messaging. Avi lives in the Middle East, I’m in the United States. We’re both into web 2.0/social media, the internet and technology in general. That’s what the bulk of our tweeting is about, though we’ve shared personal musings on a friendly basis. From just those 140-character messages it’s clear that Avi is an insightful, warm and thoughtful person.

Our conversation came about after I’d tweeted Avi letting him know I’m working on a post about communications trends for 2010. I asked if he had any thoughts on the topic. He quickly tweeted back; yes, he’d be happy to share, and did I have five minutes for Skype?

I was pleasantly surprised by the offer. Of course I’d love to talk to my faraway friend.

But first I had to get hooked up with Skype, which as it turns out, is quick and simple to do.

Soon we were chatting up a storm. About communications trends, and plenty more. It was immensely enjoyable.

We’re still far apart geographically, however, Avi and I now share a closer connection. He’s not simply a face I see in a photo, but rather a real live person that I can, from time to time, speak to in real repartee.

Make an effort to create truly personal engagement

Avi is one of several individuals I’ve originally encountered through social networks and have subsequently spoken to over the phone. I’ve also met some cyber pals in person. It’s great fun and adds another dimension to our relationship.

I highly recommend reaching out to some of your web-only acquaintances in 2010. If they’re an international call, check out Skype — as noted it’s snap to use, not to mention, free.

Make a New Year’s resolution to have your networking be even more social through authentic personal engagement.

So what do you think? Do you plan to get more personal with your social networks? Is it a good idea? Comments welcome.

  6 comments for “How To Truly Engage With Social Networks

  1. December 18, 2009 at 9:24 am

    What a great post. This is something I’ve been thinking about all morning. I haven’t really reached out made true friends with my new social media connections like I want to. I guess now is the time to decide to do a much better job of that in 2010. Thanks again Deni.

  2. December 18, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Yes, give it a whirl. Those of us of a certain age may recall a humorous Alka Seltzer commercial with the slogan “Try it, You’ll Like it” and I think that applies here, in a good way. Happy 2010.

  3. December 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Definitely, It’s a outstanding idea Deni.

    I’m going to the States on January and I’ve already arranged some meetings with several of my social network buddies. I cannot wait for it!

    Thanks for sharing

    May peace and love surround you
    at Christmastime and all the whole year through.


    Israel G

  4. December 19, 2009 at 5:19 am

    Hi Deni,
    Loved your post and yes, it is great to get to know those we have met “socially” on a more personal level.

    I have been able to do that through phone conversations, personal emails and skype. I have really enjoyed getting to know these people better.

    I agree, make 2010 the year that you get to know your “social” people on more of a personal level and meet in person if possible. I have not been able to do that yet, but that would be awesome! It is certainly rewarding, fun and fulfilling.

    I’m the type of person that never meets a stranger, therefore, I stay pretty busy just chatting, socializing and meeting new friends.

    Deb :)

  5. December 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Deni, what a cool post!

    One of the things I like most about new online friends is they broaden my world in interesting ways.

    Maybe it’s because I live in the burbs but I find so many of the people I meet offline are very much like me. They went to college, are 50’ish, had a corporate career, like to play golf, are passionate about sports…blah, blah, blah, just another version of boring old me. :)

    Some of my online friends, however, come from exotic places, have a completely different set of interests and life experiences, even though we share one, and are of different age groups. I haven’t done the Skype (video) with any of these new friends yet but will make an effort, thanks to your encouragement.


  6. December 20, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Yes, birds of a feather do tend to flock together. With online connections/friendship, many social barriers are not visible in the first place, so we are more open-minded about who we associate with.

    You are absolutely on the money about how going offline broadens our world in interesting ways. In the example cited in my post, the bulk of my conversation with Avi was not about the original reason for the call– which was my asking his thoughts on communication trends for 2010 — instead we talked mainly about personal interests, our respective cultures and how each of our countries is perceived by the other. It was quite enlightening and really does add a deeper layer of understanding between the two of us.

    As for Skype, Steve, yes, go for it. The set up is so easy and it is great fun. So long as two people have Skype accounts it will work — it can be between people in U.S. or anywhere in the world.

    Best regards,

    P.S. Based on your posts, Steve, you do not appear to be boring 😉

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