Don’t forget to take the online offline

Last we we made the point about the importance of meeting people in the offline world. I view social media as just a platform – a platform to build upon. As an extension of the real world and not a replacement. A place to quickly meet people and develop meaningful relationships. I have always encouraged people to hold out their digital hands to meet new people online, whether it’s for business or pleasure but now I’m asking them to take the next step and where possible meet up in person.

Over the last 15 years I have met some truly remarkable and giving people on internet chat rooms, message boards and communities and have made some life-long friends. I have already met some of these people from places as far away as Australia and USA and I fully intend to meet the rest. I chat to people everyday from all over the world and know some people better than many of my old friends. Imagine we could meet in the offline world. Having spoken at and attended many conferences around the UK and Ireland I have been lucky to meet some of the people I chat with online and I can tell you now that it massively enhances the relationship. Social platforms have been an amazing tool for us to develop new clients but we always try to make an excuse to go and meet in person. Maybe it’s because three of our clients are wine producers in France!

Online communities really are a macrocosm your offline world. Offline we group ourselves into tribes of likeminded people. Online reflects this grouping or tribe on a much larger scale. And the best thing about the online world is that we don’t have to leave our seat to join in. That and we can connect with so many more people then ever before.

It’s also much easier to filter people online. It’s not like that party where you get stuck chatting to Mr. Boring for an hour about what car he is driving and what grades his kids got at school while you try to perform telekenesis with your other half telling him or her to rescue you. Online you don’t have to endure that. You can filter, block and ignore the people that don’t interest you. You can therefore quickly build useful alliances.

Do not be fooled however, social media is only a means to an end. You need to clearly define that end or you risk spending precious hours of you life staring at a screen with no outcome. If you want really meaningful relationships social media is just the tinder. Sure you can do some good, transactional business online but that’s not a relationship. If you want a business relationship I encourage you to go the extra mile.

So I ask you, who are you going to make the effort to meet offline in 2011?

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Jaime Steele

Jaime specialises in brand strategy, creative concepts, naming strategies, digital media marketing and technical project management. He has a strong background in delivering and managing social media and digital marketing campaigns for both small start-ups and blue chip companies.

He has also worked with many top professional athletes, advising on personal branding, sponsorship and social media.