I was talking with a (non-blogger) friend last week and the topic of New York Fashion Week – and meeting fashion bloggers offline/in real life came up. My friend is in the social media industry and has worked with or known many bloggers in various capacities. We agreed that while everyone is approachable and somewhat conversational online, that’s not always the case offline. It’s not that they’re rude, but that they’re hard to talk to or unapproachable altogether -even after having many pleasant interactions online. I’ve been thinking about our conversation ever since.
One of my favorite things about blogging is cultivating community, whether that’s with my readers or with other bloggers. I started and still spend time on social media (Twitter mostly) to find, meet and get to know my fellow bloggers. IFB has been really great for discovering and networking with other fashion bloggers as well. I’ve had the honor of meeting many bloggers in real life, whether at a conference or an event. While it’s generally been an awesome experience, I’ve definitely had my fair share of awkward, “not what I’d expect” interactions. I can’t stand when I’ve chatted with a blogger over Twitter, then met them in real life at an event only to be blown off by them in favor of some shinier object in the room (or worse, their smartphone!) I know I play my fair part in that awkwardness too. I have bouts of paralyzing insecurity, strong opinions and bad days like everyone else, and that keeps me from being full of positivity and sunshine 100% of the time. In those instances, it makes me want to work on my conversational skills that much more.
It’s not that they’re rude, but that [bloggers are] hard to talk to or unapproachable altogether -even after having many pleasant interactions online.
Social media can definitely help paint a much fuller picture of you, for better or for worse. It might even feel easier, because you can control what you say, and you don’t have to stick around for the reaction if you don’t want to. We don’t have that luxury in real life conversations, but that doesn’t mean we should be any different. Those real-life conversation skills are more difficult to master, but over time can be so much more powerful for you. The impression people have from meeting you in-person is far more impactful than the first time they tweeted with you online. Don’t make it a sour experience! For as much thought you might put into connecting online, make sure the offline is a reflection of that. I like to think of social media as a means for doing away with that scary part of the conversation that comes after “Nice to meet you…” You already know a bit about them, so use that bit of knowledge to ask questions and break the ice!
When you decide to start a blog, networking with other bloggers, meeting readers in real life and the overall marketing of yourself and your blog might not be at the top of your mind. If growing a reader base means something to you, all of those things will eventually be your challenge. It’s a lot to think about, but having that perspective takes you out of your own mind and into that of your readers (or potential readers.)
How are you putting yourself out there online and off, and is it true to who you are?
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