Let me preface this with some background on me. I’m not a natural extrovert. In fact, for most of my life up until this point, I’ve been very introverted. I didn’t have many friends growing up, and was shy for a majority of my life. It wasn’t until college that I decided enough was enough, put on my big girl pants and put myself out there.

Being social in a sea of strangers is still terrifying, and I continue to struggle with anxiety each and every time I go to a networking event alone.

Will they like me?

Who will I talk to?

What if they brush me off?

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Which brings me back to my original thought. Coming into a recurring event like Social Media Breakfast is terrifying for a number of reasons, one of which being that most of the people who attend already seem to know one another.

In some respects my first experience reminded me of moving to a new school: everyone already had their friends, so why should they want to meet me?

In a setting like SMB, it’s easier to become one of the herd via social media: Tweeting, Retweeting, Favoriting & Following are easy preestablished norms.

With social, you have time to form your thoughts, allow your personality to show through and hit “Tweet” or “Send” when you’re good and ready.

Interacting face-to-face is an aspect of social that I had all but forgotten about until Lee Odden brought it up during his case study at the most recent SMB event. And he made me think: how many of us allow ourselves to be truly social offline?

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I guess the moral of this rambling blog post is this: don’t be afraid to be yourself when you meet someone from social face to face for the first time. It’s important to make eye contact, smile, and just be human. Hiding behind a device is easy – being yourself in front of strangers is what’s truly tricky.

So don’t forget to look up from your phone and take in the world around you once in a while: there are some great people out there ready and waiting to connect – offline as well as on.

And if you happen to recognize me (cause I’m so Twitter famous, NOT), don’t be afraid to say hello – I’d love to meet you IRL.

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