Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG: How To Make Online Writer Friendships Last

Most writers, at some point in their careers, will find it necessary to network with other writers - whether for feedback or comradery. When you network, do you easily become friends with fellow writers or do you prefer to keep it professional? And if you do become friends with a fellow writer, how do you cultivate that friendship?

It's easy to neglect an online friendship since you don't see the person face-to-face. You can forget to respond to an email, ignore a mention on Twitter, or procrastinate checking Facebook. Once, I forgot to respond to an email for months. By the time I did respond, I was thankful my writer friend was understanding and only chided me a little. She also had a great sense of humor about it. This isn't true for every friendship, however.

Budding friendships can be snuffed out by too little contact. With how fast the internet moves, a week can seem like a month and a month like a year if you're inactive on social platforms, and especially if those platforms are the only means a friend has of contacting you.

There are friends I've grown to miss because they're seldom on the platforms where I used to talk to them. I hate to lose contact with those people simply because they've grown tired of Twitter or Facebook. So how do I keep contact?

Email is an option, but not the best for me, because I get caught in the long email trap. When I don't correspond with a friend often enough, I want to stuff all my news into one message and it overwhelms me. This causes me to stop emailing. So, what's the alternative?

I have Skype, but I reserve it for friends I know well or have met in real life. That leaves live chat - or twitter, which is as close as I get most days. The problem with Twitter is not knowing when your friend is active or inactive. That, and your messages are constrained to 140 characters.

I love live chat. If I had my way, I'd open a chatroom where all my online friends could meet me, since each one prefers a different social platform.

Have you found a way to grow a friendship with a fellow writer online? What works best for you?

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