My grandmother, who is now deceased, grew up and lived in the same town all her life. When she was young, a man could should shake hands and it was as binding as a contract because his integrity within the community was directly tied to his actions.
If my grandparents were still alive, it would be nearly impossible to explain internet relationships to them. No one shakes hands. The only contracts seen are “agree” radio buttons that only require a click at the end of a whole bunch of mumbo jumbo. Communication is accomplished through email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BlogFrog, StumbleUpon, Digg, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, blogs and many, many other ways.
There is very little face-to-face interaction.
Two years ago, after a forced introduction to blogging, I started my own blog and named myself The Redhead Riter. Online I was like a child in pre-school – I knew absolutely nothing about social media, blogs, communities, forums, blogging conferences or any of the people that had already built a social authority in a niche. The one thing that I did know was that I enjoyed the whole online atmosphere of opportunity and learning, so I jumped in with both feet.
The first thing I did was research, visit and read other people’s blogs. I jumped through all the hoops: Google followed, Twitter friend, Facebook Fan, Facebook Friend, Networked Blogs followed, BlogFrog followed and became a member of countless online communities where I followed, followed, followed. Along with all the following, I commented, commented, commented for four to eight hours every night. Yeah, I heard you gasp, but I am a little OCD and I wanted to find the “success” that everyone claimed was online.
During all these late hours, I still remained true to myself. What you read is who I am – a simply complicated, redheaded woman who loves deeply and is passionate about many things. I love my family…completely. My Mom, sister, niece, daughter and I have been to Hell and back many times during our lives, but one thing remains solid and true – we love each other no matter what happens.
So with that kind of background and foundation, I started blogging and tried to learn the ropes from the “big” bloggers. I made comments on their blogs and wrote emails asking questions and seeking advice. Since blogging was touted as a warm experience with caring people, I was eager to be a part of a wonderful experience. I kept seeking answers to questions from those people that knew the answers, but my mailbox remained barren and the comments/questions I had left on their blogs were never answered. Their online persona professed that they wanted to be part of a community of women. That was true, but it was also only one-sided – they wanted to be adored, but did not want to truly give back.
Had I been disillusioned or was the upper echelon of big bloggers selfish, arrogant and hypocritical? Those are the hot buttons in real life or online that turn me off. I can not tolerate hypocrisy in any relationship. I truly believe that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander!
Since I was determined not to fail, I put my nose to the grindstone and studied blogging and social media online, in books and articles. I quit reaching out to big bloggers for answers because the rejection left a bitter taste in my mouth. I do not think rejection is easy for anyone, but it really is a toughie for me.
Eventually, I started a community on Ning that I eventually moved over to BlogFrog. This proved to be an excellent choice. Everyone at BlogFrog headquarters has been helpful, kind, friendly and supportive which was a stark contrast to my former community host and big blogger experiences.
Another thing happened when I started a community – I found people who were not arrogant. Instead they are sincere, open, caring and supportive of not just me, but each other as well. Now that time has passed, these same people have become my friends and I have also found friends on Facebook and Twitter. They are willing to help promote my dreams just as I have made the effort to assist them. It is a total win-win situation.
What I have now are “relationships” online.
Do you want to know the secret to online success?
Two way, give and take, sincere relationships.
It is the same thing you have to do with people face-to-face…build relationships.
After two years of doing everything myself, I have a whole bunch of blogging “how to” and “how not to” information floating around my gray matter. I am not a pro who is earning six figures (yet), but I am not a novice either. I feel more comfortable with the entire blogging process and actually have goals that hopefully will lead to further success online. There are several differences between me and the “big” bloggers that ignored me:
- I know that we are all valuable human beings existing on the same planet and in case you haven’t noticed yet – the planet is not that big
- My actions towards other people should always reflect my values because it leaves a lasting impression
- I truly enjoy helping other people.
The saying is, “To thine own self be true,” and I am in fact a reflection of “what you see is what you get.”
Do I harbor ill will against the arrogant, hypocritical bloggers? Well, no, of course not, but I must confess…
Every time I go to Twitter, there is a section on the page that offers suggestions of people to follow. Today, the three suggestions were none other than bloggers who ignored me – not once did they ignore me, but many, many times. I am just one person, so if I follow them on Twitter or not, well, it means nothing to them. I do not follow them in any sense of the word…not on Twitter, Facebook or in the way they treat other people. Seeing them splash on my Twitter page caused me to think about the last two years with “me”. I like who I am, what I believe, how I love and how I am not arrogant nor will I ever be that way. After a long struggle in my personal life, I finally see light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Yeah, when I looked in the mirror of my soul today, I am happy to be me and thankful to know you.
to your fellow man;
true nobility is being superior
to your former self.”