You visit the blogs of others and comment. Check.
You meet people online. Wow, fun.
Now you want to maintain online relationships. Um, how? It’s not like you can invite new friends over for your famous homemade salsa and Magic Hat's #9 (Should you know and like Magic Hat's #9, consider us instant forever friends).
Take a peek at nine ways you can become a generous blogger and build online community.
1. Post. Seems obvious, right? But really, hit the little publish button, regularly.
2. Tweet it, share it, and name drop. People work hard at pounding out posts. When you connect with words, find a way to acknowledge the writing and the writer.
3. Meet an online friend in person. Last summer at She Speaks, I roomed with a girl I met online. I was very nervous about this whole meet in real life opportunity, and I was a tad worried this online friend would turn out to be a crazy person. The entire first night of the conference, I fielded texts from at-home friends asking, “How’s Jen? What’s she like? Oh, and is she crazy?” The answer? She’s fun, real, artsy, deep, and inspiring. Stretch yourself to connect with online friends. It brings the relationship to a deeper level. If you are close to Asheville, North Carolina, consider connecting in real life by attending a small party I'm hosting. Go here for info.
4. Champion their cause. People use the Internet to rally support. Help online friends tell the world about water or the importance of mentoring or following a dream.
5. Sprinkle your writing (and commenting) with bits of you. This is tough for me. I teach high school kids and last year a picture I posted on my blog ended up in one of my senior's presentations. It was not at all awesome. However, you need to let readers into your world, at least in small ways, and then cross your fingers that your big, fat head doesn't find its way into a PowerPoint.
6. Take off word verification. Blah! I know people disagree with me on this one because they are afraid of spam, but geez, I hate the extra step of word verification, and it’s simple to take off.
7. Share cool content. Discover a new site. Fall for a new voice. Stumble on a moving article. Share your findings. Don’t hoard. Share. People will see you as a resource.
8. Join someone’s something. Online communities abound. Find one you like and join it. Be a part of an online book group. Participate in a link-up and share your mad photography skills. Tell others about inspiration you heard on Sunday. Join.
9. Write an email. I remember the first email I received from a blogger. It was random and about the words "fist pump". The content of the email didn't matter. I was clapping-my-hands happy she wrote.
Now let's hear from you.
What are ways you try to be a generous blogger and build community? Any points or tips you have in regards to connecting with people online? Any big turn-offs when it comes to blogs or online communities?