In Real Life: Making Connections Online

Making connections online has never been easier thanks to social media. Here's how to do it well.

Image Credit: Cassie Pyle

In the age of Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it is far too easy to become attached to our devices. We love to love our smart phones, tablets and laptops and we’re quickly creating incredible networks of like-minded folks on the web that, in many cases, can be crucial to our success. However, we particularly love what can happen when online connections lead to real life friends, colleagues and mentors.

Take Christine Amorose, for example. As a marketing and social media manager, travel maven and blogger, she uses social media day in and day out for both work and play. On the professional front, she always knew that social media would play a role in her career. “When I graduated with a degree in journalism in 2009, I realized that social media was a place where I could truly excel,” said Amorose. And excel she has. In her current position with ONA Bags, a high-end camera bag and accessories company based in New York City, she often finds herself getting to know new and established photographers and bloggers over coffee thanks to the ease of Twitter. When she notices that a photographer or blogger is in New York City, she simply reaches out via Twitter to see if she can meet up face to face on behalf of the company.

If some of her professional successes can be credited to her use of social media, the same can be said for her personal life. While she has landed several jobs offline due to her activity online, she has also connected with fellow bloggers and blog readers who have turned into life-long friends. In 2009, Amorose was interviewed for an article about finding jobs via Twitter. She was quoted alongside several others including California-based writer, blogger and photographer Ashlee Gadd. “At some point, we decided to meet […] let me remind you, this was in 2009 – well before it was ‘normal’ or ‘cool’ to meet people on Twitter,” said Amorose. “We've actually become quite good friends since then: I brought her dinner after she had her baby, we send snail mail back and forth, we have a standing gelato date whenever I'm in [California].”

Also in California, freelance writer and aspiring author Lesley Sebek Miller has found Twitter particularly helpful for moving her writing career forward. “Much of the writing world is about who you know and social media has given me connections to the right editors and other authors who've been crucial in my growth,” said Miller. “I used Twitter to introduce myself to potential literary agents and now that I have an agent, I'm using the medium to connect with publishers.” Her writing group also uses Facebook as a tool to share their writing and plan regular meetings to discuss their work face to face.

On the personal front, Miller notes that she has made several lasting friendships through social media. “I met one of my dear friends, Kelli, through Twitter. We realized we had a lot of things in common, decided to meet in person for coffee, and the rest was history,” she said. “I've also met up with people who read my blog. One of my readers turned out to live close by and he and my husband are now in the same fantasy football league!”

Much like Amorose and Miller, Montana-based photographer Jessica Lowry also uses social media frequently to promote her work and stay connected. “It's only been a positive experience for me and has definitely been key in connecting me with some of my current clients,” she said.“It’s also a way to keep conversations going with new and prospective clients. I think of it like running into regulars at a coffee shop. You're always there and sometimes you chat in line waiting for your drink. That connection can go a long way.”

Lowry is fairly certain that building a connection online has bridged the gap between pitching her work and getting hired offline. “There have been a couple instances where an editor started following me and within a couple months I was shooting a job for them. They've never said ‘oh it was because of social media,’ yet I can't help but think it helped me along,” she noted. “It's been a wonderful way to eventually make those connections in person over coffee that I might not have without an initial introduction on Twitter.”

The stories of these lovely women cause us at Clementine Daily to pause and reflect on our own use of social media. The one thing these women have in common is that they just went for it. They made the leap from building an online network to creating professional and personal relationships in real life. The online world can be a fantastic resource that offers access to the people behind our favorite publications, companies, blogs and small businesses. Yet, we’re finding that maintaining a presence on social media is only half the fun. It’s not until we take our interactions a step further by unplugging and creating offline connections, that we’re able to find the real magic behind all the chatter.

So tell us: do you find yourself making professional and personal connections online. How do nurture those relationships, friendships and partnerships offline? We’d love to have you share your stories over on our Facebook page!

p.s. Speaking of social media, are you following our top 10 favorite pinners?