We live in an online world, there’s no escaping it. I mean, one designer even created phone backgrounds for herself to remind her there’s a world past her relatively tiny screen. So we can’t talk about building community without acknowledging that social media plays a big role.
Now, we all know about the issues around social media: cyberbullying, unfair comparisons between our lives and others, “fake” friendships, etc. etc. But I have also found that Facebook and Twitter have given me a chance at friendships I wouldn’t have gotten to “IRL.” And to me, these connections are just as close to my heart as someone I can grab lunch with any day.
Whether you know someone really well offline, or just know them through the interwebz, here are 3 easy ways to turn your social media into a positive community experience:
- Shout outs! Celebrate a friend’s achievement, birthday, or just awesomeness in a status or tweet. Other people will “like” it and that person will majorly feel the love because you took the time and profile space to say something nice. We could all use love and positivity floating in our feeds, too. You may inspire a trend.
- Ask for help. One thing I love about my Facebook account is that I can very quickly get answers from the people in my network. So whether I need a picture from a school event, wonder about which cell service is better, or can’t remember the name of something, my Facebook friends are all more than willing to comment if they know something.
- Bonus – Ask for help for a friend who has a question. Or vice versa. Two networks > 1 and sometimes one person has a bigger or more specific network that might be useful to the other. Be a friend!
- Connect people together – Just like Dance Floor Theory. The tagging feature is the best. Sometimes, someone comments something on your status that reminds you of another friend they don’t know. Bring that other friend into the conversation, and you just gave two people a relationship they might take to their own pages or messages.
Bam! You are now a community guru online, just like you are offline. Remember, just as bullying hurts just as much online, friendship can be just as real when fostered through social media.
Thanks for reading!