The title of this post was going to be something along the lines of “How Virtual Networks Can Be Used To Build Real Networks.” However, before I could even put the pen to paper I realized there is nothing not real about about these so-called “virtual” networks. Using social media as a tool can extend your network far beyond that which would be possible otherwise. Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media is effective in connecting people across cities, states, and nations, and in their own backyards.

Connections are no longer limited to geographic location, but the willingness of a person to explore. I have recently engaged in conversation with authors, poets, volunteers, friends, business leaders, editors, and others via Twitter. While I would have met some of these people in person because of the activities in which I take part, many I would not.

Lately, I have taken the next step to meet some of the people whom I have met on Twitter in person. One such meeting took place with San Antonio Business Journal project editor Donna Tuttle.  After meeting her son at a Southwestern University alumni event I sent Ms. Tuttle (@writeontime) a tweet to tell her how well he presented himself. After a few exchanges, we met at The Foundry, a local, community-based coffee shop, to discuss various projects in and around San Antonio, where we discovered we have largely overlapping interests and networks: We both were/are involved with TEDxSanAntonio (she organized, I attended). We both know the likes of Todd O’Neil (@toddfromnj) and Debbie Curtis (@kitestringbyday). And we both believe business should bring about positive, social change. That encounter has proved to be mutually beneficial as we have shared resources, events, and plans. Tuttle has also introduced me to other inspiring agents of change within the San Antonio community.

Others I’ve met via social media who have influenced me include Marissa Garcia (@marissaRgarcia), Bill Backus (@billbackus), Gemini Ink (@GeminiInk), and Karen Bantuveris (@vspotmom). Thank you guys.

Networks aren’t defined by who you have physically met. It’s how you interact with people. Whether or not you ever meet them in person you can tremendously influence one another. These connections, networks, and relationships are very real.

Building Networks Through Social Media