How would you characterize the strength, or quality of your online connections? This past week I had a reflective “Ah Hah” moment. I realized I have developed some of the strongest personal connections, in my life, via social technology.
Many people believe online relationships are just that.. online, and have a limited ability to evolve. In my experience that has not been the case. Over the past 16 months I have met and befriended some incredible people through online communities. (i.e. Twitter and Facebook)
So why have I been so fortunate? What made this possible? Is there a magic formula? Here are some possible reasons why such awesome connections occur.
Power of Social Technology
#1: Tribal Magnetism — The viral nature of social technology facilitates a person’s ability to connect with other like-minded individuals. A common passion and interest magnetizes users towards one another. Thus over time tribes, or communities of interest, may be formed through this process. Tribal bonds are strong, anchored by common beliefs and value systems. Note: I found my tribe, with the Twitter hashtag community “Eventprofs.”
#2: Transparency — In the Social Technology world there is no place to hide. Transparency is the only option. Everything a person says and does is out in the open. So, other users get a true sense of your makeup quickly. Without the typical barriers and mind games one might find, in traditional social interactions, it is easier to turn online connections into friendships.
#3: No Social Caste System, and No Titles — In online communities no hierarchy exists, or organization chart. The “playing field” is level, and everyone is equal. It does not matter if you work as a company CEO, or a janitor for the local school. Your digital identity is determined by your actions and your words, not by what is printed on your business card.
#4: Face2Face Connections — Online connections naturally progress to face2face meetings, which can be very powerful. Note: For nearly a year I had strong online interactions with Eventprofs, and then in February 2010 our community met face2face at a conference called “EventCamp.” The experience was truly inspiring, and as a result of that event many of my online relationships grew into deeper friendships.
Question — What experiences have you had in developing online relationships? What do you think has influenced their evolution? Have you met face2face and how did that go? Please share your thoughts with us!