The Connection In Social Media Comes From YOU

If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.
— Omar Bradley

Technology and social media is incredible. But without wisdom and true consideration of our actions; these tools have no meaning. Without authentic connection, social media is just a platform for updates and picture “stalking”.  WE are the ones that must forge ahead to create and nourish meaningful relationships from those we’ve built on-line.

As both a small business owner and a human being, I’ve struggled with this a lot.

Less connection versus more? Meaningful audiences versus the masses?  Small groups versus huge networks?

Have you ever met so many people that seem to have such fabulously untethered yet completely “put together”  lives? {Thank Social Media for making you think that you’re the abnormal one for being home on a Tuesday night sitting on your sofa.)

Oh and when did pre-packaged, automated email responses become a replacement for human connection, especially from small business owners?  Shouldn't it be a given that you receive a reply from an actual person rather than a courtesy? 

When even small businesses become fully automated; we're losing the true connection to people that we all so desperately need.  Of course, I'm not suggesting that small business shouldn’t grow but I am suggesting that you seek out new ways of creating human alternatives to running a thriving business. (TIP: Jessie of Style + Pepper mentioned a great tip on this  yesterday that I also do quite often; which is to reply to emails with a voice message rather than typing up your response. It's quicker, more efficient and super easy to email the file.)

I know my business could grow a lot faster and I could reach the masses if I send automated emails every week about the services I offer but I’d rather connect authentically with you less often than inauthentically more often.  Note: When I have more to say every week, maybe you'll hear from me weekly:) 

My preference leans toward intentional honest connections in one-on-one sessions, speaking engagements or the smaller scale of The Collective {of Us} group strategy. But for each of you, that may be different.

Below are a few ways I’ve found to be incredibly helpful at cultivating real connection in an online world.  

1. Get out there, be uncomfortable and speak to people in real life.

Enjoy mutual conversations about what you do, what you love and who you are. Asking other people about themselves is an excellent way to kick this off. The best gal friendship pick up line I’ve heard in a long time was this: “I hear you rock and I love your hair, I’m Vanessa.” Who the hell wouldn't respond to that?!  Go on and give that a try! {By the way, that kick-ass friendship pick up line was not directed at me, sadly.)

2. Join the conversation on Social Media.

If you love what someone does, TELL them. If they ask a question, answer it. If you enjoy the cool photos, leave a comment, give credit and repost them on your own social media. Help others to grow their following. If the conversation feels mutual, reach out and ask to connect via email or Skype. You may not receive a response from everyone but why not engage new relationships in this way?! Don’t stand back and be a voyeur in the background because that will not help you authentically connect. I promise. 

3. Find your tribe, in your own backyard. 

Nothing can replace meeting people in real life. In-person meet-ups with fellow creatives, entrepreneurs, neighborhood moms or whomever else is incredibly soul nourishing and inspiring. In the age of Google, there is zero excuse, regardless of where you live, not to find a group to connect with. And hell, if that REALLY is the case, create your own group. (That’s partially how The Collective {of Us} was started.)  Do take a peek at these women creating awesome meet-ups as well;  Jessie Artigue of Style+Pepper hosts PepperBrunchNYC and Jess Peterson of Hatch hosts phenomenal workshops, guest speakers and field trips for creative female founders. Use these phenomenal lady bosses as examples of what's  possible and get out there and create your own event if you can't find one that you love.

4. Join smaller, more intentionally connecting online groups.

Online groups that focus on building community and real life connection exist but are becoming more and more rare; find one that feels right to you.  The beauty of meeting folks on-line is that you're able to connect with people from all over the world that you otherwise wouldn't have access to.  This is incredibly important but DO seek out groups that offer in-person meet-ups and smaller face to face conversations versus just a Facebook group. The Collective {of Us} creates the space for creative entrepreneurs to build and grow their businesses in a way that includes all of these components.  Pop over to The Collective's website and it feels right, then join the list to stay connected. (As a reminder; tonight is the last night to send in your application for the March launch!)

Ultimately, it's up to each of us to have the courage to create authentic connection. Social Media is an incredibly connecting tool but it doesn't have wisdom, we do. It supports us in introducing us to strangers but it doesn't build real relationships. That's our job, friends.  

I'd love to hear your tips on staying authentically connected in an on-line world.   What groups are you a part of that inspire your day to day?  Share your resources because we could all learn so much, collectively,  from one another!

What are your thoughts on  this topic? Share them by clicking into the comment box below and leaving a message. I’d love to hear what you think! Seriously, your insights mean a whole lot to this community! xx