Why Online Friends Make the Most Delightful Friends

Why Online Friends Make the Most Delightful Friends

Why Online Friends Make the Most Delightful Friends

By now, many of us have met people in real life whom we first got to know on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. We’ve had coffee with them, or seen them at meet-ups, or recognized them from their online profiles. Online friends really are the best friends, as Lynn Morrison outlines in this Huffington Post article: 6 Reasons Why Online Friends Are the Best!

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There’s That Guy!

Heck, sometimes I even recognize people walking around my neighborhood from their online profile. “There’s that guy from Facebook who always posts about his dog!” I might say. Or “there’s that guy who’s always ranting!” someone says as we avert our gazes and pretend to be checking our phones for something important.

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Some People Are Far Away

We’ll never meet some of those online friends, as they are too far away, or meeting would be too inconvenient, or schedules never seem to mesh. It’s funny how some people will make space for you in their lives, and others always seem too busy. Some we promise to meet during a trip overseas, like Kittie Walker or Larry Mount (follow them on Twitter!), both in England.

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Sometimes It’s Awkward

Some people seem awkward even online, so the idea of meeting in person isn’t so compelling. And others are super easy to talk to online, but then meeting in person is awkward. In the world of extroverts and introverts, that sometimes happens. I’m not including any examples here, as I’m sure you have plenty yourself! There are ways to deal with those awkward conversations, by the way.

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Some People Aren’t Funny

That would be me. I’m way funnier online, where I can edit jokes and make them much funnier. In person? Not so funny. Oh, well. Others who aren’t funny at all online are hilarious in person. If you’re an introvert, the unfunny factor might come into play more often than if you’re an extrovert. And you might like:  Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends.

Others seem so interested in real-life meetings, that they’ll bend over backwards to so that you can meet in real life. My besties Bridget Willard (go follow her blog, by the way!) and Amy Donohue (follow her on Twitter!) both fall into that category. Others like Justine Pretorious I haven’t met, and yet she is already a good friend.

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Many Become Best Friends for Life

When you meet someone online, you can talk about what’s really going on before you ever meet them in real life. You can choose how you appear to them in order to deepen the conversation. And that leads to better friendships, in my opinion.

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Distance Becomes Irrelevant

When you’re online friends with someone, you can check in with them whenever you like. You don’t have to have an appointment. Just show up, and start tweeting, commenting, etc. And you can continue to keep in touch through the magic of social media! My friends Beth Staub and Pam Ann Aungst, though they live in different states, are that way.

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Tell Me About Someone You’ve Met Online

Have you driven conversations into the real world? Or is there someone you’d like to meet? Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love that.

How to Deal with Awkward Online Conversations

How to Deal with Awkward Online Conversations

How to Deal with Awkward Online Conversations

There’s always that one person who has to step in and ruin a perfectly good conversation by saying something awkward. You know the one: you send out a perfect tweet that you’ve thought about a LOT, and they criticize it for no reason. Now, this is a bit different than a troll, so banishing them from your kingdom by throwing them back under a bridge might not be the best option.

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Emojis

Sometimes when you’re chatting online, you might not know if someone is joking or not. Does that happen to you? It happens to me in real life, too, but that’s a whole other story. Using an emoji can signal to the other person that you are indeed joking. Or that you’re angry. Or happy! Here’s a fascinating article: 7 Reasons to Use Emoticons in Your Writing and Social Media, According to Science.

By the way, did you know that Twitter measures the sentiment of your tweets using data science? You can search for a word, then go to Advanced Search and scroll to the bottom. So, for instance, you could search on Startups==>>Advanced Search==>>scroll to the bottom and check the positive emotion box. And voilà! You’ll have a list of positive tweets about startups.

Silence is Golden

If you feel that a conversation is veering into an Ocean of Awkward, one of your best weapons is silence. Like the space between notes in music, silence has power and isn’t used nearly often enough. So if there’s an awkward question, let your weapon of silence loose! Also, if you’re an introvert (like I am), silence can drive the extroverts in the room absolutely batty. So there’s that. Here’s an article about introversion that I enjoyed writing: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends.

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Forgetting Names

Online, people have aliases, avatars, and bizarre names. And yet they expect you to remember their names without having an accurate name tag! What’s a forgetful person to do? You could ask a friend of your friend. If you haven’t known your new friend for very long, you could ask them directly, too.

Death

If someone’s friend has passed away, what do you say? It depends. If you don’t know them too well, you can say you’re sorry for their loss. This works as a good first step in any case. And if you don’t think that the Internet Has Changed the Way we Deal with Death, then you’re mistaken. We grieve online as much as online now. Think about when your friends of friends have passed away. And think about Prince passed. What a huge outpouring of grief online! Other ways of dealing could be sending cards, private messages, cards in real life, real flowers, gift cards, and so on.

Feeling Awkward?

Has this entire post made you feel even more awkward than you already feel? Leave me an awkward comment! Then we’ll both feel awkward. But at least we won’t feel as lonely.

 

How Diversity Attracts Valuable People To Your Startup

How Diversity Attracts Valuable People To Your Startup

How Diversity Attracts Valuable People To Your Startup

Recently it was International Women’s Day, and I got to thinking about diversity. Mostly I thought, why isn’t International Women’s Day every day? This has been on my mind more lately because I’ve noticed from being in San Francisco how many of the guys in startups are, well, guys. That is, there are mostly guys, and there really isn’t that much diversity.

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Lack of Women in High-Tech Startups

Much has been written about the lack of women in technology, startups, engineering and Silicon Valley. And San Francisco is no different. If you walk around during lunch on any given day, you’ll notice who isn’t there: women. Recently, I even heard about a dating service that is going to be flying in women from New York because there are so few women in San Francisco. So where are all the women? And why aren’t more of them being hired? As this San Francisco Chronicle article explains, women rarely reach the top in high tech, despite signs that diversity pays.

If you’re a woman in high-tech, you may find yourself having to speak differently, or more loudly, or more often to get your voice heard. Being in the minority can make you feel like an outlier. However, having diversity at a startup goes beyond having female faces.

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Diversity in Language

One thing I loved about going to school at Berkeley was the variety in languages and faces that I saw every day. Sometimes conversations could be difficult because not everyone spoke English as their first language. But having so many different points of view was invigorating; knowing that not everyone would agreed with me made me more carefully weigh what I said and wrote. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to run a startup, too? That is, with the idea that not everyone has to agree?

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Mature Voices Attract Others

Another wonderful thing, now that I’m no longer 20-something, is to work alongside people of all ages. Having experienced, mature people working alongside you can be invigorating, too. Having people who “remember back when” without obsessing on it could help maintain a focus on what’s critical. And if your audience consists of baby boomers, then you’d be wise to have a few of them on staff.

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Introverts versus Extroverts

Here’s another group I’d love to see more of: introverts. They’re not all hiding in the back room avoiding people, either. They’re speaking (albeit quietly, at times), listening, and finishing big projects. By the way, you might like this post about introverts: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends. Giving voice to introverts, who often have more to say than they let on, gives your business a better chance at innovation. Here are three steps to attract—and retain—introverted employees, from Forbes.

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Political Diversity

During an election year, it’s natural that people might feel more challenged to agree with the “other side.” This election seems especially rancorous. And how many times have you thought, “the next person who rants about Donald Trump is going to get unfollowed!” I know I’m guilty. But someone is going to win the election, and then what? We’re never going to speak to those Republicans ever again?

Benefits to Attract the Culturally Diverse

Allowing more flexibility so that your employees are happy is key to having an innovative workplace. “Offer benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules, and let new hires know that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays and diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) apparel choices,” as is outlined in How to Increase WorkPlace Diversity.

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How’s Your Workplace Diversity?

If your workplace isn’t culturally diverse, how does that feel? What groups of people would you like to add to the mix where you work? And if it is culturally diverse, how does it affect how you work? I’d like to know, so leave me a comment, s’il vous plait!

Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends

Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends

On #DigiBlogChat this week, my Twitter chat (along with @LazBlazter) about new technology and blogging, some of the participants started a side conversation about introverts and how well they do with writing, and that led to a discussion of social media. As a result of that chat, I decided to write this post. Many of these facts have been taken from Susan Cain’s wonderful book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” Susan Cain’s TED talk is wonderful, if you haven’t heard it yet. And by the way, one of these facts is not a fact. See if you can spot it!

Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends

Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends

Introverts Need Alone Time

Now, not all introverts are writers, but having and enjoying more alone time means that introverts can spend the extra time focused on their writing, or go out into nature for inspiration. Part of being a good social media or content provider means that you must write. So just by having that extra time, introverts can easily use it to recharge through their writing. And enjoy the time alone.

One-Third of the World’s Population is Introverted

In an article in Time Magazine featuring Susan Cain, the author discusses the introvert revolution (the website, ironically, starts playing a loud video), and how it tapped a nerve. With one-third of the population being introverted, is it any wonder that the popularity of social media is growing? All of us introverts (myself included) need a place to express ourselves with as loud a “voice” as those extroverts. Social media allows us that forum.

Al Gore and Warren Buffet Are Introverts

Along with Charles Darwin, J. K. Rowling, Mahatma Gandhi, Google’s Larry Page, and at least a third of the world, who prefer listening to speaking, who think before acting, and who speak softly and maybe don’t want to carry a big stick. So would it surprise you to know that introverts can be such naturals on social media since they like to think long and hard on things? While parties and small talk may be like torture for introverts, writing a social media headline or creating a blog piece are not nearly as difficult.

In a Gentle Way, You Can Shake the World. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

In a Gentle Way, You Can Shake the World. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Introverts Are Not More Intelligent Than Extroverts

Unfortunately, introverts would like to say this is true. However, being introverted does not automagically make you a better or deeper thinker. However, introverts are more cautious as a general rule, and they like to listen more. If you haven’t read my post on the five hidden benefits of listening, by the way, you might want to. This caution can lead to slower decisions during social media disasters, which seem to happen quite often.

Introverts Love the Internet and Cats More Than Extroverts

Secretly, or not so secretly, introverts love cats. Introverts also love the Internet. And since the internet was invented by cats (not Al Gore, although he is an introvert), introverts of course have the edge with social media.

Introverts Don’t Care So Much If You Like Them

Introverts don’t care so much what you think about that post on Twitter or Facebook. This attitude may translate into a more interesting and honest post, headline, or article. An introvert will have their opinion and doesn’t need to be validated as often as an extrovert. And that is impressive!

 

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