This premise of this post may be obvious but I feel like stating the obvious today. Last week I had a nice conversation with an old friend, Rick Martin, from my days at UCONN. Even though Rick is a Delta Chi, he spent a lot of time at my fraternity, Triangle Fraternity. Lots of long conversations about life and all things associated with college. As is common, we have not stayed in touch after college, although I suspect we were aware of each others life through our network of friends.
Last year Rick found me on LinkedIn, we exchanged a couple of messages but did not really re-connect. Then he sent me an email asking for some social media advice so I gave him a call. We updated each other on our lives. Rick works for the University of Phoenix so we discussed the evolution of online education the past twenty years. I updated him on my recent change in professional status and how I am going to tap into my social networks to create something new. Then Rick said it would be better to “Shake a hand, make a friend”, to get out and meet people with similar professional interests. Ok, I know that is an obvious statement but I had not met someone new in a long time. Why should I? I have small children, I have a long commute, job is fairly secure and I always have stuff to do. Any of this sound familiar to you?
That is my message for today. Shake a hand, make a friend. Online social networks are great for maintaining existing relationships or possibly discovering new ones. But you don’t really know someone until you meet them face to face, no matter how much time you have spent “together” online.
Do you have any stories to share in how meeting an online friend in person changed your life?