Trying to build an offline community onlinePosted: 20 December 2010
A few weeks ago, I attended the latest Vancouver Blogger Meetup. This session wasn’t like the informal chat-ups that I’d attended in the past, but was three separate talks from established bloggers and how they’ve built up “community” around their blogs. Raul (Hummingbird604) summarizes the main points raised from all three speakers, and likely his own experience as well.
The first talk was by Rebecca, aka Miss 604. As she listed the various events she became involved with or organized, I was surprised at how many I myself have attended. One of Rebecca’s main points was the importance of connecting offline, in real life, to foster meaningful connections.
I find that the follow-through is the big challenge for me. I have gone to these big events, or similar, and I meet people. We might exchange twitter handles (or in the most recent event, business cards – I finally had some printed), and I might follow them. But meeting again in the real world, if it happens at all, might take place months later, and I’m sure that person wouldn’t know who I am. That’s where my innate shyness/social anxiety kicks in and my night is essentially over before it’s even started. That is why I feel I’m already at a disadvantage when it comes to networking.
I’ll stop the personal moaning and mention that I have a unique online community, centered on twitter, and based on four areas of interest: running, the Canucks, transit, and Doctor Who. This blog has become a secondary tool, but just as important, especially since I link the blog and my twitter so that a new post will appear instantaneously as a tweet.
But I find it interesting that while I have built a great community of runners through twitter, the blog, and dailymile, I still have difficulty meeting runners in real life. And I’ve signed up for many clinics, but at various locations, so I don’t exactly have a history at each place.
That just might be one of my goals for 2011: meet more people. It’s time to establish my community!