You know you’re a blogger when…you start categorizing your friends into two categories: “blog friends” and “real-life friends.”
For example, I might tell my husband about how Jo-Lynne just bought the most incredible dress or about how Caryn is pregnant with her second baby. When I first started my blog, he would often ask, “Hmmm…where did you meet her?” “Oh, she’s one of my blog friends!” I’d reply matter-of-factly and with a sheepish smile. Now, he knows to say, “Oh, yes, Caryn’s the one who lives in southern California, right?”
Once you get sucked into the blogosphere, you’ll realize that it’s a bit like moving into a new neighborhood. At first, you might be shy and uncertain. You hope the neighbors are nice and that eventually you’ll all be having backyard BBQs and swim parties like old pals.
Slowly, it happens. You say hello (leave a comment on her blog). You invite her to your place (or your social networking circle). She invites you to hers (follows you on Twitter or “friends” you in the Mom Bloggers Club). Before you know it, you’re chitchatting about everything from your kids to your favorite restaurants to tragedies in your life.
Before blogging is about business or moneymaking or sharing knowledge – it is about relationships. The most successful bloggers know that. They are experts at creating and maintaining friendships.
After all, information can be found anywhere – websites, books, magazines, and hotlines. Blogs are different because they showcase personalities – they encourage participation and long-term commitments that last beyond just one article.
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, blog friends really aren’t that different from “real-life” friends. They know your favorites, your pet peeves, your successes, and your parenting dilemmas. They will support you and promote you and launch you into success.
Blogging is no different from real-life in that “it’s about who you know” and…it’s also about who knows you. So, get out there and introduce yourself!
HOW TO MAKE A BLOG FRIEND
Introduce yourself. Just like in real life. Send a short e-mail to say hello. Offer a compliment. Ask a question.
Leave thoughtful comments. Bloggers thrive on comments and if you leave a provocative, funny, or interesting one, you WILL be noticed.
Notice and celebrate milestones. Did one of your favorite bloggers mention that today marks her 100th post or that yesterday was her 15th wedding anniversary? Be sure to leave a comment.
Send a birthday or “congratulations!” card or gift via snail mail. To stand out in a big way, send something by regular mail – a birthday card, a bouquet of flowers, a book, a baby outfit, anything to mark a special occasion.
Be on the lookout for ways to help people. If Rachel mentions that she just created a workout plan and needs to buy some running shoes, send her a link to your favorite shop. If Susan said she’s going crazy because her toddler won’t eat vegetables, share your favorite recipe or a book that is all about hiding veggies in common meals. Be observant, find a need, and then offer a solution.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FRIENDLY
Being a kind and genuine person is good for a million reasons. Doing nice things, being observant of needs and meeting them, extending compliments – those are all things that we should be doing every day, not only to help others but also to help ourselves.
You’ll win thousands of friends and have a fan club in no time if you are a positive, inspiring, and authentic individual who seeks to make the world a better place. Seriously. It's one of the great "secrets" of the world: give to others without hesitation, love recklessly – without expecting anything in return. Then – it’s the strangest thing – you’ll find that everything you gave will come right back to you…and more!
As Sheldon Vanauken (author of A Severe Mercy - an AMAZING book!) put it, "Love is the one thing we can give away endlessly-…and yet have even more of.”
So start by being warm-hearted and selfless – and you’ll notice your traffic start to grow and your circle start to expand.