Social Media does a whole host of stuff – acts as a shop window, gives you access to lots of other shop windows and begins the process of building relationships, both with customers and colleagues. On its own it has its limits; relationships are built much better and faster face-to-face and building relationships is very important to me. (see here) But Social Media can be the beginning of something fabulous and valuable. Here are just a few people (and their Twitter handles) I’ve met first through SoMe, then in real life and what they mean to me.
Sarah Harvey – @SavvySarahSPM
When I first set up my business I knew that the isolation could be damaging, both in terms of my mental well being but also through working in a very small silo. I put out a call on LinkedIn for some like minded people to form an action learning set and Savvy Sarah responded straight away. Meeting her for the first time I was a bit daunted; she’s rather an impressive character. I soon discovered that she is generous, intelligent, action orientated, supportive and gently challenging. She’s clever, there are no two ways about it, and she does this in such a warm and engaging way that I love to spend time with her.
Jo Turner – @JoodlesJo
A few years ago I went through a particularly stressful time. I had been freelance for a while and the initial excitement had worn off but the business was not exactly flooding in. I had a couple of things on my mind that were spinning around and around and seriously starting to affect my waking and sleeping life. I noticed on Twitter a course on Zen Doodling – a mindfulness technique taught by the delightful Jo Joodles. A morning in her company, with two other similarly stressed women, gave me a strategy for completely emptying my mind and relaxing. She welcomed us into her home and gave generously of herself. Wonderful.
Niall Gavin – @niallgavinuk
I met Niall at a networking event where he was doing a talk on using Social Media as a learning resource. He had been popping up in my Twitter timeline and was obviously well respected by my peers. He had also recently faced a major health scare and so his perspective on life and getting the most from it is fascinating. I have spent time with him on a number of occasions. He is someone that I am happy to chat through ideas with; he has a wise and gentle way about him, along with an infectious humour and a certain spark that gives rather than drains.
Jo Cook – @LightbulbJo
Jo, or rather Lightbulb Jo, kept popping up in my timeline and seemed to be universally respected by my network. I then met her at a launch for a book on webinars, one of Jo’s specialisms. From the first moment of meeting her she was generous with her time, with offers of help and with praise. She recently held my hand through the techy bit of being part of a webinar panel and did it with such grace and encouragement that it was easy to admit when I had been a bit numptyish.
Tony Jackson – @JacksonT0ny
I posted on Twitter a few years ago that I had signed up to a Tweet-up and that I had no idea what that meant. Tony replied that he was in the same boat and looked forward to seeing me there. Two years later I have a friend that I can discuss great big issues with – like the meaning of life and such – or have a giggly lunch with, chatting about some of the crappy stuff. He writes intelligently, takes beautiful photographs and lives life with passion. Whatever he does he does well. He’s also incredibly loyal; I’m very privileged to have him in my corner.
Doug Shaw – @dougshaw1
I bumped into Doug at a conference; we had an interesting discussion about colour and decorating ourselves (I had just dyed my fringe blue.) Doug is an artist and uses art to help organisations and individuals to get a different perspective on change, learning, the world etc. We met recently for coffee for the sole reason of getting to know each other better, having chatted remotely via Twitter. Doug brings a different view point and for that reason always adds to any discussion. He is also charming to spend time with.
All of these (and others) are important to me. They keep me sane, on track, engaged, curious and content – and I wouldn’t have met them if it hadn’t been for social media.