Blog image by Jerome A. Shaw
Social media has made it easy for us to stay hyper-connected, allowing us to access people with the touch of a button. While this is great, I do think it comes with a certain level of expectation when requests are made, just because it appears to be reasonable or within reach. There are a few things I’ve noticed in the digital space and I want to share how we can be more mindful about how we’re showing up on the internet.
Here are 3 things to consider before reaching out to people who you don’t know online:
Did you do your research first?
Many of your social media favorites have graciously documented their journey, thoughts, and values online. Read their books and articles. Peruse their site. Watch their videos. A lot of the questions you might have have already been answered in some medium.
For example, the most common inquiries I receive are people who want to meet with me to talk about my career, learn how I got started, and what inspired me to start my writing journey. My first response is to invite them to listen to the 10 hours’ worth of podcast interviews I’ve been a guest on, which detail the aforementioned topics. Make the time to soak up everything they’ve shared before reaching out.
Do you have a specific and thoughtful request in mind?
Saying, “Hey, I love what you’re doing and would love to connect” or “I want to partner with you” is extremely vague. What are we connecting for? What does this partnership entail? Being intentional and thoughtful in your communication and being clear about the value exchange will better the chances of getting a response.
Have you supported this person in any way?
Share their work with people you know would benefit from it, bring their name up when they’re not in the room, buy their products and services (if it’s within budget), leave reviews...the list goes on. Showing support (in different ways) demonstrates your spirit of pouring back into the person vs. taking just to take. If their work has inspired you in some way, be a gift to someone else and share/invest in their work..
Lastly, don't take anything personally. Release any expectations of people online - whether you know them personally or not.
What other tips should we add to the list?