|Image courtesy of morguefile|
It's very simple. No one succeeds alone.
If people don't know you, they will do nothing for you.
If people do nothing for you, then you will fail.
People you know in real life is one thing; forging a relationship from scratch is quite another. However, it's an awesome opportunity to put your best foot forward. Online, you only have to show the best of yourself. Your online friends don't have to know about your nasty little habit of wiping out everyone's leftover pizza (and I don't do that anymore. Promise).
I'm most active on Facebook and Twitter, although I utilize LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr as well. From these services I maintain friendships with people who have opposing politcal views, other writers, gamers, Android experts, and the like. I have met none of these people in real life.
This is how I do it.
1). BE GENUINE
This is key. Don't fake it, people will know. Show genuine interest in the well-being of others with no thought of reciprocity.
2). BE OPEN-MINDED
The world would be a boring place if we all thought alike. Be open to ideas that oppose your own. Do not, and I can't stress this enough, do not condemn anyone based on their opinion. Welcome opinions and ideas that don't necessarily conform with your own.
I don't like any opinion that supports beating women or children. Virtually anything else, I can tolerate.
3). DON'T BE SHY
This is more difficult for some than others, and I find it works best on twitter and blogs. If you see someone you follow post something you're curious about, say something! Ask questions! And don't be offended (don't unfollow) if people don't get back to you right away. Sometimes, I wait weeks for replies, but now twitter is secondary to Google for me.
This is how I do things, and I still get hyped when someone I have a great deal of respect for follows me back on twitter or circles me on Google Plus. For me, the greatest thing about social media is the idea of connecting to millions of people around the world, that we all may gain a greater understanding of one another.
Thanks for reading.