Twitter Tales

For her blogaversary Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni, asked her readers to submit their Twitter Tales.  She asked us to “write a short post describing how a connection you made on Twitter, first, lead you to an opportunity and opened new horizons”.   While I have many, many Twitter tales of deep and lasting friendships and professional relationships that have developed from chance meetings on Twitter.  There are a few that stand out as examples of how small and connected our world truly has become and how wide we make it when we reach out to those we encounter on Twitter.

Here is a link to my Twitter Tale…..

I’d love to hear yours!

Community & the Quality of Our Relationships

This is a reprint of a post I wrote in June 2008, but I feel that the message is especially relevant for me and a lot of others right now.  So here it is again.

Sometimes things come to us in such a timely manner, that it restores our faith in the patterns of the universe.  After having ignored my GoogleReader for several days (way too many, don’t even ask how long!)  I started to wade through through the massive amount of reading I had in front of me.   As usual, when I have built it up to that lovely 1000+  (you have to love when it is so many that they will intimidate you with 1000+ and not really tell you how many there are!) that GR intimindatingly shows me I have failed to keep up on, I’m skimming subjects and titles.  In my haste to clear, I almost skipped over this particular post, but something drew me back.  Not only because it was Gary V, but something about the title resonated with some of my recent musings.

Gary talks about when you know you have a Community (yes capital “C”).   Now, I’m not sure that I can ever be as eloquent as Gary, but I’d like to think I share his passion.  His focus is on the social media crowd, but I think his message can be expanded to many aspects of our lives.  He reminds us all that community = communication!  If you are having a dialogue with just one person, you have a Community.

Gary’s words reinforced things that have been occurring to me lately.  I’m in the process of making a Major move and Major changes in my life.  In preparing to make these changes, I have been evaluating the roles that various people play in my life. When Gary talks about needing to remember that it does not matter how many Twitter followers or blog readers, it made me remember that it does not matter how many friends I have collected, how many colleagues admire me, how many business associates I have contacts with.  It is about the quality of these relationships. Now, I will admit that sometimes I get lost in believing that the more people I am able to surround myself with, the more people there are to make me happy, to reinforce the positives about myself, in general just to affirm my existence.    Occasionally it is nice to be reminded that I don’t need anyone to affirm me.   What I need is myself and the positive power of a good Community.   And Gary has reminded me of that. He has reminded me that I not only need myself, I need good dialogue with a single person and I have a solid Community.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I’ve realized that I have a lot of people in my Community, good people, solid people, smart people, caring and inspiring people.  From the people I love, my family, my close friends, some business associates, my Twitter  peeps and the sweet people who take the time to read this, I’m blessed with this Community.

How are you building your network?

I was honored to be one of the speakers on the Networking panel at Spark Networking.  The other panelists and I had compiled a list of tips, such as,

Do ask thought-provoking questions that won’t have a yes/no answer.

Do have an elevator pitch.

Do be engaging; develop relationships.

Don’t try to sell your product or service when networking.

Don’t request or provide contact information until you’ve talked to someone.

These and the other tips were meant to aide the participants at Spark in taking their networking skills to the next level. The tips varied on topic, but there was one consistent message = Networking is about having conversations that develop into connections.  Networking is about using these conversations to share the information that develops relationships.  Networking is like weaving a spiderweb of interconnected people. spiderweb2 And like a well-built spider web, that network that you are building needs to be strong and “sticky”.  It needs to branch out from it’s center – You – and continue to grow with each interaction.

When building your network, it is important to remember that the integrity of the web will only be as solid as

– the work you put into building it

– the relationships that you build to connect it

– your honesty, integrity and authenticity that give it strength and stability

My friend and business coach, JJ Reich, put it very well in his post “How Strong is your Network?”

Networking Is All About Building Trust

What most people fail to recognize is that networking is about trust more than anything else. And trust requires that people “feel” that you care about them – not just their pocketbook. They need to feel that you understand who they are and what makes them tick (at least at a cursory level).

You don’t build trust by telling people who YOU are.
Instead, you build trust by understanding who THEY are.

Effective networking not only makes a contact, it makes a connection.  It requires you to utilize your communication and your organization skills.  More importantly though, effective networking is accomplished through honest, authentic curiosity.  Take the time to learn about the other person, develop a relationship with them and build trust between you and them.   These things develop the kind of connections that can be weaved into the strong, sticky spiderweb that will “trap” and hold your business growth.

Who says Twitter relationships are not real?

I write this through tears that are clouding my vision.   I received news today of the passing of one of my Twitter peeps @lilyhill.  While “Lily” (Roberta Frazier) and I never had the chance to meet face to face, we did share some lovely conversations and I always looked forward to seeing what she had to say.  In some ways it seems odd to feel the profound sadness that has come over me at the passing of someone I really had never “met”.  But, I do feel a deep sadness.  A sadness for Roberta’s family – my heart aches at the thought of her daughter having to type that final tweet from her mother’s account – A sadness at a life lost way too early; A slightly selfish sadness that I will no longer be able to avail myself of Roberta’s wit and wisdom.  And an even more selfish sadness at the reality of my own mortality.

What strikes me even more is that I am feeling this deep sadness for a person that I only knew electronically.  There are people who try and claim that the relationships we develop through Twitter are not “real”.  They are a result of snippets of information that we chose to share with the world and have no basis in the deep understanding necessary for true relationships. I say they are wrong!  In the almost 2 years that I have been on Twitter I have been blessed to interact with people all over the world that I now truly call FRIENDS.  Some I have met in person and some I have not, but that does not lessen the feelings I have for these people.  Some of the people I now consider my dearest friends, that I consider my extended family, I met on Twitter.

The bits and pieces of our lives that we daily share with each other on Twitter are the building blocks for those relationships.  The times that we laugh together, support each other, educate one another, just chat, share virtual hugs, share wisdom & insight and on days like today, cry together. This is what builds those relationships.  It is wonderful when proximity allows us to translate those into “real life” friendships, but I don’t feel any less for those I am close to on Twitter who are in Florida, Missouri, California or Australia than I do for those right here in my own beloved Philadelphia.  I can feel their love, kindness, support and caring as strongly as if they were sitting here next to me.  Twitter has allowed me to grow beyond my own little geographical world.  It has allowed me to touch and be touched by the power of people from everywhere. For that I am eternally grateful.  I wrote “An Open Letter to My Tweeple” back in February 2008 describing what Twitter meant to me.  Those thoughts and feelings are amplified exponentially with each day that I spend engaging in conversations and interacting with my community on Twitter.

So to those who would say these relationships are not real – I on behalf of the Twitterverse say you are very, very wrong.  The sadness I feel right this moment at the passing of @lilyhill is proof.