Connecting with Perfect Strangers; The Internet as Matchmaker

"Perfect strangers connecting"

Perfect strangers connecting

[tweetmeme]I’ve just added another perfect stranger to my blogging team.  He’s John Sawyer, and I met him on LinkedIn, specifically the Word Press Group.  He was among a group of strangers who were offering me advice when I ran into problems upgrading WordPress to the newest version.

He was so helpful I paid him to get me going again.  Now he’s my friend.  Have you noticed that you can become almost instant friends with perfect strangers you meet on the Internet?  I mean real people you want to have in your life.  The Internet has become a matchmaker.

There’s Bea Fields who was and still is my blogging coach and one of the most helpful and giving people I know.  I’ve never met her, but it hardly matters.  We talk every week on her “Blogging Mentor” program where other strangers I have never met convene to share tips.  I don’t want to forget Nina East, who set up my first blog for me.  Or Jeff Simpkins, a banking consultant whom I met through Bea and who co-hosts a weekly webinar with cool speakers on social media and other business topics.  Annie Hart is another pal who believes story telling can change the world.  Pat Weber is a new friend I connected with on LinkedIn’s Bloggers Helping Bloggers Group.  We’re cooking up an idea (that I won’t give away) for a series of guest posts on each others’ blogs.

Masses of Communicators

As I soon as I publish this, I’m sure I’ll remember a few more people I should have included (I’ll come back and add them).  But social media is taking the word “stranger” and modifying its meaning from “a person with whom one has had no personal acquaintance” to “a person one has not met in person.”  IBM’s social media policy coins a new term about their employees on social networks, “these individual interactions represent a new model:  not mass communications, but masses of communicators.” That is what we have become, masses of perfect strangers interacting with other individuals, learning about each other, influencing each others’ behaviors — and changing the world?


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  1. Jeannette,

    I love this post. I think about people like you, Annie, Jeff, Elizabeth, Shane, Yvonne, Dave Buck and on and on…people who I know are friends, and I have even had the honor to meet a few in person (can’t leave out Roger Dewitt or any of the people I have met online).

    Thanks for this post…and….let’s all take this one step further and have a mass reunion in NYC!!!!

  2. Bea — I love the idea. I almost got to Raleigh this fall for the social media conference. It will happen and the Big Apple is just the place for it!

  3. Jeannette-

    I liked your article connecting with strangers but I have question regarding the initial contact method that you use. As you know Linkedin’s contact section asks that you provide friends email prior to sending them a request, is this what you do or do you simply email them first? Thanks!

  4. Mark —

    You asked about using email to contact LinkedIn connections. If I understand your question, when you invite someone to join your professional network, if you try to put your email in the body of the message, LinkedIn will reject it. Not allowed. That’s if you’re inviting someone whose email address you don’t know. Once you’ve connected, then you give them your email.

    There is the feature “Add Connections” where you can write in the email addresses of people you know and contact them directly that way. Personally, I mainly connect when I come across a friend by using “invite to join your network” or by clicking on names in the “People You May Know” section where I connect with a lot of people I do know. You could no doubt build your network faster if you invited the people in your address book to connect.

    Hope this answers your question!

  5. Great post Jeannette and I totaly agree. I regard some who I can only connect via the internet as friends and the best thing is that they are from around the world and not just from Australia.

    To extend the friendship we often talk via skype or email to further the friendship, help each other and importantly have a laugh.

  6. Great stuff, Jeannette. I’m with you on this. Since I started effectively marketing myself by starting relationships with strangers and not selling what I do for a living, I’ve made some great friends. Like Susan above me. 😀

    Since we all focus and blog about different things, it makes it much more interesting to learn about new topics, or even topics I relate to to but now have a new perspective on. LinkedIn has been a real help.

  7. Jeannette, What I love about this post is that it reminds us to “stop and smell the roses”. You are spot on that the internet can be a place to find “quality” individuals who can become superb colleagues and or friends. I for one am thrilled to have found individuals in our Bloggers Group that speak from a sincerity thus paving the path for business and life enhancing relationships. There is a wealth of knowledge and “goodness” if one only slows down enough to notice. THANKS!

  8. Jeannette,

    Blogging has opened up doors for friendships for me as well. I am enjoying the virtual discussions. Masses of Communicators is a interesting description of the current phenomena. It’s going to be interesting to see where it goes from here.

    Chris

  9. I agree with you completely Jeannette. I have developed so many great relationships online that I feel I know some of you on a personal as well as professional level.

    As Dennis pointed out, we all have different strengths and bring different skills to the table. It’s great to be able to be able to draw from each others strengths.

  10. Jeannette I agree with you and what everybody is saying in the comments. It’s amazing and wonderful how you get to know interesting people online. Having said that I should add that on and off I have problems with men that are complete strangers falling for me and stalking me. But so far they have eventually given up when you ignore them completely.

  11. I have meet so many great people through social media. I have done business with people that I have never met in person. I sometimes feel like my business partner is a social media friend. She lives in California and I live in Indiana. We actually meet through another business before forming this one. We have only seen each other in person 5 or 6 times over the 5 years we have known each other.
    Caterina, luckily I have not had any stalkers. I don’t have time for that.

  12. Jeannette, you are so right and what a great way to describe it. I was just speaking with my dad this morning about the same thing — he just doesn’t get it LOL — old school thinking. He can’t understand how I can have a client on the other end of the U.S. that I have never met, how I do work with others not so far away but yet I still haven’t met them, and why I network with so many people when I don’t get paid to do so. I tried to make him understand the beauty of this networking and how so many are there to lend a helping hand, advice, support, etc. I, for one, have been very fortunate to have networking friends that have been there for me. Thanks Sherryl – I see you up there in the comments 🙂

    Catarina, although I am not young and beautiful like you are, I have had my share of well-behaved “stalkers” but not really stalkers. More interested in personal than business and when they hear that I am not available (which they hear IMMEDIATELY) all of a sudden they disappear. LOL. C’est la vie.