Do Bloggers Lack Conversational Skills IRL?

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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?

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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15 Responses

  1. Toni Styles

    Nice post. It’s important to be fully present and fully yourself, when meeting your fellow bloggers and readers in person. I think we ought to cut bloggers some slack, with what “we” expect them to be. When communicating online, you’re perhaps more outgoing and less “awkward”, because you’re more relaxed – lying down, in a quiet environment, wearing slippers, around the familiar, etc. Maybe older bloggers (not to say some teen and early 20’s bloggers wouldn’t be able to), appreciate more, the fact that everyone is different and because they’re different, doesn’t automatically make them rude or weird. I think we’re all guilty of seeking others for entertainment &/or fulfillment – do they make me laugh, do they make me feel good about myself? If they don’t, we can’t bear them. However, the most we can do, is treat others like we would wish to be treated and dismiss expectations. A blogger in real life is the full representation of a real person – not just the online brand.

    Thoughtful post, indeed!

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

    Reply
  2. Onianwah

    Jess you must be a mind reader. I recently had a strong talk with myself on this exact subject and have been working myself up for my next public appearance as a blogger.
    I have been mastering my pretty pitch along with asking people questions to draw them out, being present in conversations and also making sure that even though my brain isn’t exactly photographic, I take a picture with them and write their name on the picture along with where we met so I NEVER forget (imagine seeing someone 6 months after a first meeting and calling them by name. Awesome right?)

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply
  3. Paige

    I think everyone’s online persona is slightly exaggerated. I personally am introverted in real life, but I try to tweet/join chats constantly and engage with my followers. I’m not hard to approach for a conversation, but I hardly ever start them first irl.

    Reply
  4. Manuela

    Interesting, I am totally comfortable in person versus a bit more cold in my online reply 🙂

    Reply
  5. Dee Anjani

    i had an opportunity to attend several parties as a blogger and i would say that being able to chat with a human other than your smartphone is a great thing to do because that way you can secretly promote your blog (#shamelesspromo) and also get inspired by others, blogger or non-blogger. on some cases, because that i try so hard to just put my phone on my bag and chat to some staff from the company that held the party and fortunately enough, i get so many invitations for following events.

    great article and definitely a reminder that as a blogger, you need to stay social, online and offline.

    xoxo,
    Dee
    http://anjanidee.blogspot.com

    Reply
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  7. TlvBirdie

    I guess, we shouldn’t forget that many, I mean m-a-n-y, girls start blogging for one simple reason – self-expression on the web is way more easier than in real life. And as far the social media interaction goes, we tend to loose the natural conversational skills.

    Oly
    http://www.tlvbirdie.com

    Reply
  8. Peppi

    I can definitely relate to the problem of being a bit different on web than IRL. Not because I’d do it on purpose, but because I’m crazy shy. First in person encounters with someone is always very awkward for me, as opposed to the online chats, where everything goes much smoother. Working on it though! 🙂

    Reply
  9. Rachel

    I actually find meeting other bloggers in real life easier than meeting people I’ve never met before. I have problems reading social cues in many situations, and while my non blogging IRL friends really notice this, my blogger friends don’t as much. I’ve had a chance to get to know them online a bit, so I’m better at reading their body language, tone etc. better in real life as a result. It helps and compensates for how I’m a little different from normal people IRL, if that makes sense!

    Reply
  10. Megan Kodetsky

    I’ve never been to a function where I had to represent myself as a blogger, but I have been to tech conventions where I was surrounded by a sea of people, all of which didn’t know how to interact with each other! It was so odd and uncomfortable! It was especially weird when you were seated at tables with people you didn’t know and no one wanted to be the first one to say anything. Definitely a good point to just be yourself and comfortable in your own skin.

    Reply
  11. Johanna

    I’ve noticed the same with some bloggers, but others are so incredibly warm and friendly when you meet them, talking about absolutely everything with others. I try to be as social, or even more so than I am online. I feel it’s almost easier to talk to people face to face than in internet. Though, I must say that as the media sometimes tries to make bloggers compete with each other, it might be so that there is unnecessary tension between blogger girls.

    Which is funny because I think we should all be like co-workers, cheering each other on and being friendly and nice. It’s win-win for everyone.

    Reply
  12. Georgina

    I might be barking up the wrong tree here, but I often wonder, as we’ve chosen a medium that allows us to interact from behind a keyboard, how many bloggers are introverts or quite shy in real life?
    I know I find it awkward approaching people at events without feeling like a bit of a stalker, with all these things I know about them even though we’ve never ‘met’.

    Reply
  13. Justine

    I started my blog because it seemed to be much easier to talk to an empty webpage than the person sitting next to me. I’m naturally an extremely introverted person, people usually drain me. Unless something really bothers me, or I am spoken to, I don’t really talk. At least in real life. But, ironically enough, this blog has sometimes made it easier to talk to strangers. They might stop me on the street and ask what I’m doing. I’ll feel like they’re prying but then remember that I’m putting this online anyways. I get some eyebrow raises but as long as I’m doing something I like, and it’s not hurting other people, I think it’s okay. Communicating in real life can just be difficult for some, but it’s always easier when you can pull up your blog on your phone and maybe show them pictures of vacations and whatnot, it they care. Blogs can sometimes be a jumpstart for all types of conversations -business, creative, etc.! Being online allows people to create they life they truly want to live. This can often go awry, but good bloggers know how to keep what their life looks like, and what it is, in the same realm. It’s always easy to get people to click social media links online; however, being social in real life is totally different.

    http://youreahautemess.blogspot.com/

    Reply