lifestyle / 13/02/2009

Online relationships

I find that people are more forthcoming in an online environment than in real life. I attended last month’s 27dinner and Johannesburg’s Twestival (yesterday, 12 Feb) and I found that (at both events) people weren’t quick to introduce themselves (well except for Lionel du Plessis, Reuben Goldberg, Richard Mulholland and Don Packett last night).

An event like the Twestival attracts the geekier crowd (Twitter has not gone mainstream), and I think it’s safe to assume that a lot of geeks are shy. I’m all for networking online and admit I’m one of those who wont just go up to someone and say, “Hi, I’m Nafisa and you must be….”. Sounds a bit stalkerish. If you’ve built a ‘relationship’ with someone online for a while, then introducing yourself comes naturally.

While chatting to the SingleSyllable last night, we agreed that people on Twitter know what they want and know why they’re there. Twitter is a very powerful tool, if used properly. It’s also natural to network with like-minded individuals. However, I think it makes a difference if you not only follow a person on Twitter, but their personal blog too and after that, the idea of meeting irl is just the next step. Relationships like these tend to have a more solid foundation.

During my time as content & community manager at My Digital Life, I built a lot of relationships online with numerous bloggers and when we had a MOB (meeting of the bloggers), introducing ourselves came naturally; there were no uncomfortable or awkward moments. Conversation flowed.

Social networking has indeed changed the way people communicate. There’s no beating around the bush.

Just the way I like it.



Nafisa Akabor
Always online... except when I'm offline.




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  • Been to two MOBs (different platforms), 27dinner, Twestival, and you said it yourself, I’m not a shy girl – not even irl (at least, not often), but it is somehow easier to introduce yourself and get acquainted online. I think the anonymity and human fear for rejection make it easier to put yourself “out there” online – IMHO.

  • Agreed. Its seems to be a natural flow of folks who are openminded enough to say hi, this is who i am, and maybe the point is that any platform is purely an enabler for these interactions to take place..

  • I’ve been to one (sort of) MOB, when I was really into MyDL. It was… interesting. It’s weird to see this person IRL and ask them stuff like “So… how’s your baby?” or “Is your dad feeling better?” without ever actually having met them. Plus the same old debates are harder in real life because they can interrupt you 🙂

    Online allows bloggers to get to know each other really well before hand, especially if you’ve gotten to the point of IMing. But Imust say, I feel a lot closer to people online. Especially if it’s people you know but don’t really know, you can approach them online easily but not as easily IRL because of all the social norms.

  • @PattiLain – its definitely easier to open up to a ‘stranger’, its a plus when that stranger becomes your friend.

  • Hey doll. I agree with this to an extent .. for shy ‘uns it works. Online definitely has a place! For ppl like me… well.. you know me.. . What you see is what you get. 🙂

    Ok.. why’m I here? Oh yes.. I wrote my (layman) review on the BB Storm. And linked to you too 🙂
    So far so good… I shall let you know more as I get more into it.. but read my latest post in the interim.
    Hope you’re having a good w/end. Oh yea.. Happy Wellies to you. (I don’t DO this idiotic commercialised claptrap LOL).
    xxx

  • Ash

    Interesting post Nafisa. I’ve made a lot of friends online but never really met any of them as yet. Think I prefer keeping my relationship with these people online. I find it much easier to socialise with my non geek(offline) friends.