Reaching out: The value of online relationships

I have taken some time off over this past holiday. I typically tweet and FB on a daily basis. I also spend a lot of time thinking about my clients, how I can rock it out for them, and make lists of things that need to be done or blog topics that need to be covered in my (or their) voice. But for a total of eight days, I hardly did anything. I sat back. I reflected. I spent time with my daughter, friends, and family…and watched A LOT of movies. I guess you could say I “renewed.”

So often, we (I) get caught up in “go, go, go.” It’s easy for me to drown in work and the everyday drama that occurs. I see myself sometimes making excuses and justifying. I want to stop that this year. I want to stop, not by making some “resolution” to do so, but by taking action and BEING who I really am, and then being okay with how it is I feel…good, bad, or ugly. People are not always going to agree with you. Many of you know this. I’m in my early 30’s and it still hurts my feelings when people don’t like me. Isn’t that silly? But when I really think about it, being in this thing called “social media” has seriously got me thinking about how social space has changed things for me so much in the past 4 years.

I was absolutely moved by an article I read yesterday on how to utilize social media for voicing worries and sharing concerns. One of my favorite things from the article is this:

As risky as it maybe to expose oneself to the unknowns out there, one should never forget the possibility of easily being hurt and betrayed by those who are “close” as well. With that in mind, I guess social media provides many different ways in which one could vent and feel at unity with others out there seeking peace of mind and healing of the heart and soul!

Mental health is one of the most important things we can have. I was just having a conversation about this with a friend the other day. I don’t care how many of us “think” we have it together. It takes a village, in my opinion, to keep us together. I am one of the most positive people that my friends know (at least that’s what “they” say), but it’s not like I have amazing days all the time. We all have feelings of loneliness, or sadness, or something that we may not even be able to put our finger on. Perhaps that’s why I’m always preaching about community. Maybe it’s because at my lowest times, all I have to do is reach out to my online social space, and there is always someone there to make me laugh, talk to me, and be my friend.

I have made some of my best friends online. Some of these friends were not a part of my life a year ago. I love it! But it took going through crazy times in order to see the blessings. I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve faced over the past 12 months. I am also grateful for a New Year to improve on what I’ve begun…my business, my continual role as a mother, and my continual role as a friend. I guess my challenge to you this next year, is to reach out to people and be as real as you possibly can. It’s not worth keeping your feelings to yourself. If you’re happy, I want to be happy with you. If you’re sad, I want to be able to lift you up. If you’re celebrating, I want to be able to celebrate with you. And if there is ever the opportunity you can make to get together with your online community, take it and love it. And if there is ever a time to start living authentically, it is now. 

Here’s to new friendships in 2010. And here’s to making business personal.

Cheers.

(In these photos: Chris Brogan, Suzanne Zaleski, Kelly Olexa)

8 Responses to “ Reaching out: The value of online relationships ”

  1. AshleyRenee says:

    I LOVE this: I don’t care how many of us “think” we have it together. It takes a village, in my opinion, to keep us together.

    So true. Great blog.
    -AP

  2. Suzanne says:

    I also met some wonderful people in the last year via social media which have led to amazing personal and professional relationships!

    We are all people with back stories and unique charisma. Who we are impacts who will engage with us and who we choose to approach. Great conversations lead to great relationships; IMO this is as important in business as in our personal lives. I truly appreciate authenticity in people who are the same in their profession as in their personal lives.

    We ought to embrace the diversity of others around us; playing off each other’s strengths and building each other up where we are weak. May our goal be to provoke growth in others and seek it for ourselves by engaging with interesting and talented individuals. Let our hearts and minds be open enough with each other to become vulnerable so that a true connection is formed. I believe support and encouragement are among the greatest gifts you can offer a friend or colleague.

    I agree – let’s form collaborative partnerships to make 2010 the most amazing year yet!

  3. Beta says:

    Love,love,love this post. You are an amazing person. I say that after only talking to you a handful of times in our lives. You definitely shine when you are around. I wish I could only be half as positive as you. I’m working on it. You are so right about someone online always being there for you. When you need to laugh, to vent, or cry. I know because I have done it many times. I’ve called out and there they were. They can lift you up when you think you can’t walk anymore. It is amazing. As I try to take my step out here in the world of social media. I think I will really begin to understand that friendship can be so much more. Thanks for the article. I loved it.

  4. Nicole Ellis says:

    Lindsay,
    You are SO right! I belong to an online couponing group. When my mom died last week, I received almost 1000 comments and condolences from my friends on that site. I even received a card in the mail from one! That was truly an example of how much people can care about you, even online. Amazing!

  5. Nicole-I’m sorry to hear about your mother. It’s amazing how people connect. I love it.
    Suzanne-you are special, and I’m so thankful for you.

    Thank you all for reading and sharing.

  6. Thomas says:

    Your words inspire. I am touched by your sincerity of emotion and commitment to building community by heart. To me, both pain and joy deserve celebration in proper measure, sharing tears and laughter together or apart, it is our community that keeps us sane. In truth, we are never alone so long as we are able and willing to reach out; speak loud enough for those around us to hear our valid being and they to shout back their own. Near or far, old or new or not yet known, friends are the source of our constant rejuvenation.

    Here’s to the beautiful you and a bountiful new year

  7. Tom~thank you. You are truly an inspiration to me.

  8. Patrick says:

    Lindsay,
    You are SO right! I belong to an online couponing group. When my mom died last week, I received almost 1000 comments and condolences from my friends on that site. I even received a card in the mail from one! That was truly an example of how much people can care about you, even online. Amazing!

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