You’ve probably noticed I don’t post blog posts often. But don’t worry I spend too much time on screens just like the rest of you. For every minute I spend writing a blog post, I probably spend (totally random number coming right up) 30 minutes reading and commenting on other blogs or interacting with “blog friends” online. Getting to know people some of whom have lots in common with me, others who have totally different, fascinating, lives has been so enjoyable and enriched my life in lots of ways. Just like friends (online and offline) are meant to do.
After a few years of this some of those blog authors have become really wonderful friends. So now even when they haven’t posted a blog post in awhile I send them a text, or check up on the things going on in their life. Sometimes it’s to let them know I have been praying for them, or to ask them to pray for us. Other times its to ask for advice for a specific situation we are going through or just generally stay in touch through snapchat, instagram, periscope or whatsApp, voxer and facebook etc. etc. just like I do with my “IRL” (In Real Life) friends and family who I don’t frequently get to catch up with in person.
When I first started my own blog, (which started as a way to go from blog reader/creeper to friend), I kept hearing about these “online friends turned into Real friends” and wondered just how exactly that came to be. Since it didn’t seem to be happening on its own, I decided to take some intentional steps to see if I could make my “blogosphere” even more friendly.
Here are some of the things I tried that in my case made a big difference.
- When I go to read a blog post, (or watch a vlog/periscope/youtube/FBlive) I try to not just skim through or watch in 10% of my attention, but really listen, just like I would if a friend were talking to me face to face, evne if there are lots of interruptions.
- The means fight to urge to get distracted and sucked down the rabbithole by every link they share and the awesome thing-I-NEED-to-Google that they mention. I can check those out after getting to the end of their post and leaving my comment.
- I pick one or two points to respond to. Sometimes being attentive to a question that I can answer helps. Other times I have a question that I can ask them.
- I try to find something I have in common with them (check the about page if its a new-to-me blog).
- If they mention a prayer request, I say a quick prayer for it (so I can honestly let them know that I have) but also write the name down on my prayer intentions and keep praying in the days weeks ahead.
- Now that I have something to put as a comment (more than just “Yes, I loved this!”) I leave a quick but meaningful comment. Which isn’t very quick when I am on mobile… with all the logins and capchas and hoops.
- I always try to use their (and my) names in my comment, or their kids names if that’s something they share on their blog and its relevant to my comment, I think it show that I really care who they are.
- If the comment or question I want to say is too personal and I hesitate to post it publicly as a blog comment, instead of backing away, I look for their email address and send it to them directly.
- (I hope other people don’t have this problem, but I have to consciously try to overcome it sometimes.) I try to not make every comment all about me. Sometimes the “You do? Me to!” comment is valuable in and of itself, but other times even I get bored of hearing me talking about me.
- I make sure my comment is linked back to my blog so I am not an anonymous “no-reply” commenter and if they are so inclined, they can easily click over to my blog and see than I am person they can get to know. (For those with blogger you might be by default a “no reply” commenter, here’s how to fix it)
- If I ask a question, I click “yes” to receive emails when they follow up with a comment/answer.
- And lastly, even if you feel like a stranger, talk like a friend would to another friend, and the chances go up that you will become one!
I hope perhaps this may be helpful to some of you! Julie had a great post recently about how Social Media can be a blessing, and I think it certainly is when it it brings wonderful people into your life, and allows for staying in touch across miles.