Social Media Means People and, Eventually, Maybe, Friends

It was one of those sudden-realization moments for me.

I was talking to one of my favorite lawyers last night at a local startups event ( He mentioned a person I’d sent to him a couple weeks ago. That person had asked me to recommend a small business lawyer, and I recommended him.

The realization was that she — the person I’d sent to him — felt like a friend. I feel like I know her, like her, and trust her. But I’ve never met her. I’ve never even talked to her on the telephone.

I’d met her on Twitter. She popped up with interesting comments in a chat I’d been in, so I followed her. I got to know her with the links she recommended via Twitter, and then her blog posts, and eventually email. I liked her writing and read her book that she recently published. And I’m glad to know her, and consider her a friend, even without ever talking to her.

Over time, at 150 characters per comment, plus reading blog posts, I can get to know a person and his or her work, and end up liking that person. Strange, but true.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I like the new world we’re calling “social media.”


  • North Lincolnshire Solicitors says:

    Great article, very insightful!

  • Tim Berry says:

    Dape … for my part, and the unidentified person who became the subject of this post, I know her gender, approximate age, profession, writing style, and personality as revealed in email and blog posts and her book as well as twitter. That’s not true for everybody I deal with in twitter, but many of them have gone from there to phone and then in person, and in those few cases, the person I finally met was the same person I’d felt like I was dealing with online. In my case these are entirely professional and collegial relationships, serendipity related to my twitter and blogging and speaking activity; my personal life is about my wife of 40 years, our five kids, our grandchildren, extended family, and a very few friends.

  • Dape says:

    Interesting comment, knowing – not knowing the people behind the comments. Over the months I have been surfing the blogs in the social media networks I have enjoyed some interesting business articles. However, there is a long way to go before you know the people behind the comments. By the way Tim,( I guess that) by reading this comment you cant even determine what gender I am (50/50) be realistic please. Regards Dape

  • The Blog Week in Review — 11/24/09 | Business in General says:

    […] Blog Week in Review — 11/24/09 Social Media Means People and, Eventually, Maybe, Friends — Tim Berry shares a story of virtual […]

  • Ev Miles - Online Business Cookbook says:

    Heck, most people do not know themselves that well! You can I’ll admit (with good skills) discern many things about a person through their digital persona.

  • Ed Martin says:

    Do you think people can have Twitter personas that differ from their true selves? Shy people can become extroverted on Twitter. Everything becomes more exaggerated? I think you’d have to go further, as you did with blogs and then emails to get to know someone.

  • Jennifer Kaplan says:

    What a great post. I know what you mean, Tim, I’ve had the very same experience!

    Jennifer Kaplan

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