I’ve talked before about how moving is hard and making friends takes time. Whether you’ve lived somewhere for a long time or you’re new in an area, forging new social connections can be scary, complicated and totally daunting. I know a lot of you appreciated my advice on how to grow meaningful connections, so I thought I’d share a little about how I’m using social media to build real friendships. Like, actual burgeoning connections and stuff.
To be honest, before we left for the States, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Facebook. It was just so cluttered with crap, and most of my day to day friends weren’t on there much. I preferred twitter, and I still do, for news, silly interactions and fun quips. I was trying to get into Instagram, and it’s still something I’m trying to do more of, but it just feels like a serious time sink for me. It feels like you have to be on Instagram ALL THE TIME to actually see anything worthwhile. But my social media game changed a lot by moving.
First of all, Americans love their Instagram and Facebook. Like, I can’t believe how many people use them as their main networks. When I went to some initial meetups for fellow local geeky women, I was amazed at how many people would simply want to swap Instagram handles. That was the way to kinda stay in touch, I guess, and be able to message in the future. (Sidenote: no one uses WhatsApp here! Like, WTF?! It’s all FB messages or ancient text messaging.)
But the main thing has been Facebook here, and it’s actually working. Now, I had pretty much written off Facebook as a dying social media. And it still might be. But I’ve managed to get a lot out of it lately.
First of all, I joined some local community groups. You know, groups for my area, and then moms in my area. I even joined a local blogger group which was how I found out about that cool photoshoot event that I went to. But I didn’t know how I’d actually meet anyone. So I decided to send out an In Search Of (ISO) message in one of the groups, looking for other couples (with or without kids) who were open to swearing, were smart, sarcastic, and funny. Gamers or geeky people were a plus. I got a few responses, actually! We ended up going out for drinks with another couple and their baby, which was a lot of fun and a nice first step.
Recently, the woman from that couple started a Facebook group for working moms in our area. Most of the classes, events and other cool things in the mom groups were on a Tuesday at 9 am or some other time when working moms are BUSY. The response was great and we’ve had a few coffee and wine dates already. Dean, Harley and I even went to another family’s home for a board game evening, which was AMAZING and I want to blog about it in more detail soon.
The main thing is, yes, it’s slow. Yes, it takes time to make friends. But social media can actually lead to REAL LIFE FRIENDS. Some of my other close friends who still live in my phone were found because of this blog, and twitter and stuff. Social media isn’t just a reason to feel bad about yourself or a way to stalk people. It can be an amazing platform when it works well.
As a result, I have banded together with Sam “Tech Girl” Wright to create a new Facebook Group, Lady Geeks. The idea is quite simple – women who work in geeky fields, or who have geeky interests, often feel alone. We feel like the only women who enjoy gaming, or who are filled with all the technolust. We imagine that we are the exception to the rule somehow, when really we aren’t. All of us like to connect with other lady geeks, to feel less alone and to be able to show off cool creations, fun styles or even just vent about yet another idiot who questioned our geek cred.
So, if you consider yourself a woman and a geek in any form, come check out the Lady Geeks group. It should be a fun place to find cool games to play, books to read or just some much-needed support from other like-minded ladies. Mainly, it might just remind you how to use social media to build real friendships for yourself, and make new friends or strengthen your existing connections.