Today’s guest post is by Julia Monroe Martin, a writer I met on Twitter just a few months ago. I was so happy when Julia emailed me this post, about the power of blogging and Twitter to build not just an author platform, but real friendships and connections. It seemed such an appropriate topic, considering the friendship she and I have developed online in such a short time!
In short, I had no idea what I was getting into. It was only after I started blogging I found out that there are approximately 140 million bloggers and at least 175 million tweeters. I’m glad I found out after I started—or I may never have even tried! Because when I did find out, I wondered: how on earth would anyone ever find me?
But they did find me. More specifically I “met” other writers on Twitter and on blogs, theirs and mine. And somehow—despite the overwhelming numbers—I found myself making connections to people, real people.
When I first started out in blog-tweetland, I had no idea this was possible—or even desirable. Not because of how many people there were, but because I didn’t think it was possible to meet people, to make friends this way. Sure, just like anyone, I have a few friends who have tried Internet dating; I even have a friend or two who found a serious relationship on the Internet, one even got married!
But it never ever occurred to me that through blogging and tweeting I’d meet or want to meet writers I would forge real life friendships with. But I have.
On Twitter there are ten or more writers who I “see” most days: a “kitchen table writing group” (the writers who tell each other to get off Twitter and go write); a bird watching group (we exchange photos of birds); even a weather-watching group. Some friends and I have ongoing jokes—things like #glamorouswriterslife, #rapture, or #chipmunks! I’ve heard from friends about illnesses and injuries, wild animals in their house or on daily runs, pet problems, tornado warnings, children’s illnesses, what’s for dinner, finishing a thesis, and of course how their writing is going. And I’ve seen pictures: of writer’s work areas, of their chairs, of birds and other animals, of flowers and gardens, and vacation spots. Some of these friends and I have broken out of the 140 character limitation on Twitter and moved onto email communication, taking our friendship to yet another level.
On my RSS feed, I have a “daily list” of blogs I make sure to check every day. I want to know if one of these bloggers has posted something new. And what I look forward to most with my own blog are the comments: reinforcing writer ties and meeting new writing friends.
But it’s even more than that. If I don’t “see” someone on Twitter for a few days, I start to wonder—then may actually worry. Where are they? Is everything okay? If they haven’t tweeted or blogged as often as usual, I might send them an @ tweet or even a direct message. Some friends let me (and others) know if they’ll be out of town—so we don’t worry!
The truth is, my writer’s platform is coming along nicely: I’m building a following. But that? That’s become the icing on the cake. To my surprise I discovered the much more important hidden gem in blogging and tweeting—against the incredible numbers game—I’ve made human connections, and I’m building friendships and relationships with other writers!
What kind of relationships have you built with Twitter and through blogging? Is this as important to you as it is to me?
Julia Munroe Martin lives in an old house on the coast of Maine. She has a degree in journalism and works as a business and technical freelance writer in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. She also writes fiction and creative nonfiction and a blog at www.wordsxo.com (which roughly translated means “love of words”). She started her blog to get herself writing everyday and as an experiment to see if she liked it–which she does, especially the part where she meets new writers like Natalia!
photo credit: garryknight