community: taking things offline

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My favorite thing about Scoutie Girl? The community.

I love the conversations that take place, the discovery of new things and ideas, and the passionate people that drive it all. And, as an introvert, I kinda like that I get all that from the comfort of my home.

Last week a member of my online community asked me if I’d like to meet for coffee. In person. Out in the real world. Yes! We happened to be in the same city, and as we learned, in the same neighborhood. Coffee sounded good.

Picture us: opting for tea, sitting at a table on the sidewalk at a local cafe. Sharing space, sharing ideas, talking about things within and without our online personas. Brainstorming, making referrals, discovering mutual opinions and loves. Laughing. Rolling eyes. Sipping. We had always been friendly online, but here were we beginning to act like friends.

Ok, we’ve met once, so don’t think I left the cafe with a new BFF. But I did leave with a better understanding of the whole person behind the website and the posts. I got to sit in her presence, and that communicates so much more than the online world can accomodate.

And so I bring you this little challenge: Sometime during this month, reach out to someone in your online community and meet in person.

“Community” and “relationships” get buzzed around a lot. When you take the opportunuity to strengthen them in the real world, surprising things can happen.

14 thoughts on “community: taking things offline

  1. I totally agree. I’ve actually got a whole slew of meetups and social events with crafty and online peeps lined up – and really, they are invaluable!

    I sucked it up and went to a blogger meetup in my city last week – now I’m working on a collaborative project with 2 of the other bloggers I’d ‘met’ via twitter – but that real-life connection is what kicked it off.

    I’m an introvert to – but I’m enjoying this socialising and networking more and more as I grow as a person and a business-woman!

  2. Hooray for introverts! I think the friendships I’ve forged online have definitely made it easier to then go meet folks in person. It gives me enough background to know that we’ll surely have something awesome to talk about :-)

    I’ve actually got an appointment tomorrow to meet an online contact for coffee for the first time, and I’m really looking forward to it.

  3. I love that idea! I have a friend who I meet with for tea/coffee more frequently lately and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a long time. We’re both internet geeks so we share resources, ideas, and it’s a blast! I love the idea of finding one of my cyberfriends and doing the same. I’m in :)

  4. I have had this idea for a while – of meeting local Geelong folk who craft. I’ve been going with the school of thought that if you focus on the idea it will manifest. I might need to stalk a few local blogs to help that along. I’m not a crazy person I swear. I’m normal enough. I drink coffee, tea, hot chocolate, beer or wine. …..too desperate? LOL.

    I think meeting people in person that you share a common interest with online is a great way to get to know othes and expand your network. I don’t know many people in my area as I moved interstate. I would love to have a network of friends to bug for photoshots and help occassionally. I’m sure there is someone local who would love some talent I have to offer in return also.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly! I am not an introvert and have always chatted people up easily both online and off, but since developing an online life the in person has sometimes taken a backseat. I have to make an effort to reach out more often and do face to face meet-ups. I would totally love to do coffee with you Laura. Alas we are on opposite coasts. However I will contact you next time I’m in LA! Be sure of it :-)

    So anyone in SE PA?

  6. Hey, Gwyn! I’d like to meet you in person! 😉 Just kidding.

    I’d love to take the challenge of meeting an online friend in person for the first time this month…

  7. Thank you for this challenge! It’s so easy to feel “connected” but never do any face time with “real” people! I’m going to take on your challenge and try to meet an online friend in the real world!

  8. Yes! I love the community I’ve formed on line, at my blog and others, but I love sitting across a table from someone even more. When that can happen with someone I’ve met on line, it’s the perfect collision of worlds! Just last month when I was in Brooklyn, I got to meet Susan of Creative Guide to Life for lunch (http://www.creativeguidetolife.com/). We had been supporting one another in our creative endeavors for a while, but this meeting took our friendship to a new level, just as you describe in this post.

  9. Having sat on the other side of said table last week, I couldn’t agree more! I knew Laura was whip-smart and resourceful from her online presence, but meeting in-person I know so much more about her particular strengths and who else in my community might benefit from working with her. I’m learning that my favorite thing about the blogosphere is, in fact, the friends and colleagues it’s brought me ‘IRL.’

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