5 Ways To Connect With People Through Social Media
What I have learned is when you graduate college, it is rather difficult to make new friends because you won’t have the opportunities to meet people that have same interests in classes and organizations. It took me a little while to social media can play a prominent role in meeting and connecting with people. Personally I have met people who I normally would not have ever met before through services like Twitter, Meetup.com, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Tools like these can help us expand beyond our current circle of connections.
Whether we are ready to accept it or not, social media networks will continue to be a part of our identity in the present and in the future. As Facebook grows beyond 800 million users and YouTube surged past 1 trillion views in the past year, people are networking and sharing content at a rate that shows no sign of slowing down.
Social media grew especially popular when President Obama was preparing his campaign. He conducted interviews on blogs and Facebook. His Twitter account grew to millions of followers and his messages got a lot of attention as they were being retweeted.
Social media is a powerful force. It can control elections and bring down corrupt regimes. The problem is that most people have no idea how to utilize social media for making connections. This is a quick guide that teaches you how to utilize social media for making connections.
Connecting With Topics and Hashtags As A Starting Point
Let’s say that there is an event that is coming up that you know of and you want to meet people who are also going. Odds are that they are talking about it on Twitter as we speak. Let’s say that you are going to CES in January or SXSW in March, you can connect with people on Twitter by using that as a starting point for search. Visit Twitter’s search engine and type either #CES or #SXSW. I typed in SXSW and I found these results:
Right off the bat I know that I would be able to send a Twitter message to Claudia or Dan and ask them if they would like to meet at the conference. If I was a Bruce Springsteen fan, that would be one ice breaker I could use with Claudia.
A couple of years ago I attended a conference in metro Detroit called Future Midwest. I plan to go again this year and I wanted to make more connections since I was pretty shy the first time I went. The first thing I would do before going to the conference again is visit their Facebook Page through a link on their website and finding out who “likes” their group or wrote on the wall of the group. I would ask them questions like, “are you also going to this year’s conference?” or “Hey, I noticed you work for such-and-such company, I am interested in learning more about what you do and whether we can partner on some projects. Would you like to meet at FutureMidwest?” There are no limits on what you can do using hashtags on Twitter and groups on Facebook.
Connecting Through Event Listings On Meetup, Facebook, and LinkedIn
There are three social media websites I recommend using for finding events with the intention of meeting new people:
2.) Facebook’s Suggested Events
3.) LinkedIn has an event directory and events you may be interested in.
Meetup.com allows you to input a zip code or city and find events near you. Facebook’s suggested events finds events near you and finds events that your friends are going to. And LinkedIn’s event directory lets you find events by the region or events you may be interested in based on what your connections are attending as well.
Connect With Video Sharing
Not only can you use YouTube for watching videos, but you can also use it for connecting with people. If you believe you can put together something entertaining, you should start your own channel and create your own brand as well. If it worked for iJustine and Nigahiga, it could work for you.
I have a friend that fell in love with one of his YouTube commenters. This is a rare circumstance but if you really enjoy particular vloggers, you may consider contacting them.
Justin.tv and UStream allows you to network with other users while watching live-streamed videos. This is an awesome way to interact with people that have similar interests as you.
Video Speed Dating
There are also several webcam speed dating services such as RandomMate.com and SpeedDate.com. Some people have even made friendships from ChatRoulette.com, the randomized video chat room service.
Charity Work / Causes
One of the best ways to meet new people is by making a difference in the world through charity work. EarthTweet.com encourages you to use the hashtag #earthtweet to share what you are doing today on the planet to make the world a better place.
Twibbon.com is a great website for setting up a charity campaign using social media. You can find out which charities are trending in the “What’s Hot” section. You can also start a campaign or join existing ones.
Causes is a website where you can find or start a cause. Currently there are over 500,000 causes.
Interact With Local Bloggers and Local Twitter Users
Absolutely the best way to meet new people is by interacting with local users on Twitter or local bloggers. How do you find local Twitter users? WeFollow.com has a list of Twitter users across major cities. Since I live pretty close to Detroit, I would check the Detroit section at http://wefollow.com/city/detroit_mi. If you are aware of an online newspaper or a local blog, then you may want to connect with people that write for them. These people tend to be very connected. The Huffington Post recently launched a Detroit section of their website so I would probably would want to connect with some of the writers on this blog.