If you are on-line for any amount of time, you may be a member of a group or two, or perhaps several that will discuss topics or collaborate with other professionals in your field of expertise. If you are lucky enough to be active in these groups, you may have regular online chats, skype calls, or if you live close enough, even have had the opportunity to meet some of your on-line friends to discuss possible business ventures.
- Participate regularly (Regularly is different for everyone – whether it’s once a week or every day, do what your schedule allows.)
- Always have a positive attitude (Negativity breeds negativity and this is a good way to get kicked out of your community.)
- Follow the rules (If there are rules, make sure you read them as a courtesy to all members of your community.)
- If the group/community you join has a member roster, enter your contact info (social platforms, blogs, etc…)
- Ask questions (Everyone was new like you once, don’t be afraid to ask questions. As a general rule, people are nice.)
- Have an idea? GREAT! Make suggestions, collaborate, this where the fun starts. On-line communities are an excellent way to make connections all over the world. You can also obtain clients with on-line communities you may not have gained otherwise just because you formed a relationship.
I’ve met some amazing people on-line through my online communities. Some I’ve written about on previous posts like Keri Francek Jaehnig, Dorien Morin van Dam, and Jure Klepic. I’ve had several skype chats with Keri and Dorien previously and today had one with a good size group including Keri, Dorien and Jure as well as Greg Welch, Karleen Harp, and Jocelyn Wilhelm.
Prior to the days of social media and on-line communities, would I have had the opportunity to meet these amazing people? Probably not. Karleen lives in California, and while I’ve been to California a few times, I never met her while I was there. Jure lives in Canada, and I’ve never been to Canada. Social networking is an amazing opportunity if you take advantage of it by getting to know people and build relationships.
So let me ask you the hard question: are you getting to know people when you are on-line or are you just spouting information, retweeting and checking in to FourSquare? Are you building relationships or do you leave your social platforms the same way you joined? Not knowing a single person, not knowing if you are making a connection, not knowing if the time you spent was wasted? If you can’t answer with any certainty, I have a challenge for you. The next time you go on-line, and every time thereafter make one new friend. Just one. Say hi, ask them how their day was, how the weather is, anything. Don’t try to sell them anything or tell them about your business. Just make a connection. Then let me know either on this post with a comment or on my fan page. If you don’t have an on-line community in mind, join us at Kickin it with Klout or Kickin it with Kommunity on Facebook. (You don’t have to have an active Klout account to join.)