It’s amazing how the relationships we build through social networking become so “real.” Although we don’t personally know, nor have we physically met many of the people we ‘friend’ through social networking, somehow those relationship seem very real to us.
I was listening to an NPR podcast recently and there was a relationship specialist on the broadcast discussing this very topic. She was saying that many people develop strong relationships with folks they meet online and these relationships can be as real and as deep as those developed offline.
Yesterday was a very interesting day for me. I’m a big track and field fanatic and I was driving to Philadelphia to watch the Penn Relays – an annual trip for me. While driving along my merry way, my cell rings and the caller ID indicated it was a call coming from out of the U.S.
To my surprise it was from my ‘little sister,’ Marjorie Janczak (Marj) from Germany. Well, actually, Marj is not my real little sister [LOL], but that’s the kind of relationship we’ve developed. Marj is originally from Ghana but now lives in Germany.
I don’t remember exactly how we first met. But I do remember her coming back to post on my Facebook Wall several times after we became friends and that caught my attention. Most folks don’t seek to engage you in that way. So, I initiated an email conversation with her and we connected almost immediately.
Marj has a very unique niche on Facebook. Her thing is online social etiquette. She’s writing an ebook on how to “behave” online, so you can meet more people and hopefully, make more money. She’s even formed a group around the topic called: Oh, Behave!
Anyway, I’ve been offering Marj marketing advice and just helping her in general with stuff related to social media marketing. But I’ve never felt the inclination to charge her for my services. So, this led to her starting to call me her ‘big brother.’
Yesterday, after about three weeks of emailing ideas back and forth, she reaches me on my cell and we talk for about an hour. And it really was like ‘little sister’ and ‘big brother’ meeting for the first time. On one hand it was a little bizarre, but on the other hand it was a pleasing experience.
Of course, we had to end the call at some point and sadly we did. But we were glad we got to hear each other’s voice. She invited my family to come to Germany and visit with her family.
Now, there’s an underlying message within my story that might have slipped past you if you got caught up in the brother/sister part… and it’s this: You never know who that “stranger” is you’re asking to be your friend. It could be the person that is has been “appointed” to help you obtain your big break.
One lesson I learned from my Dad, is that there are no strangers. His philosophy was you should never pass up the opportunity to befriend others, simply because you never know what important role they’re going to play in your little production.
They could become a Star or they may be part of your supporting cast. Then there’s also the possibility they shouldn’t be part of your cast. But you never know – so why not cast your net beyond the people you already know? [That’s another blog for another day – stay tuned!]
Since I decided to apply that philosophy in my social networking, I’ve come to know some incredible people. Many opportunities have “fallen” into my lap so to speak… some of which I will be sharing with you later. Going forward you might want to consider introducing yourself to more people that you come across during your social networking activities.
Ok – so that was one of my virtual relationships that became real. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about another that happened during the same drive to Philly – maybe I should take more rides to Philly.
Best to you!
P.S. Go by and check out my Little Sister’s Oh, Behave! Group. Tell her Big Brother sent you. [LOL]