How to Nurture Your Digital Connections

    In an increasingly interconnected world, many of our connections are formed and maintained online. These digital connections can be just as meaningful and rewarding as our in-person relationships if we nurture them properly. This article will explore strategies for developing and deepening your digital connections.

    I've always haphazardly thrown paragraphs and paper-length posts to this platform or that. The end result was that I didn't see what I thought. I should have seen it in response. So I really never got a feel for what was sought after or what would be useful. Because at the core of my purpose, I want to give back to my community and also help them understand something that perhaps they need to help with.

    Recently, in a community of an online game, I have come to understand that waiting for some response or edification that information was useful, is not necessarily a key metric of whether or not I was useful in my communication. 

     This is also a central issue that many people have in thinking about what to post online in the first place if they want to start a blog. The other takeaway that I have learned over the last several months is that you won't start to post-bar or create more content until you get started. You can't wait to learn everything you need to know in order to get going. If you do, it will just take longer and longer before you start.

Understand the Power of Digital Connections

    The first step is to acknowledge the importance of your online relationships. They can provide emotional support, broaden your perspectives, and even create professional opportunities. Social media, email, and other digital platforms offer countless ways to meet and interact with people who you may not have the chance to connect with in the physical world.

    Alternatively, your connection and relationship online may not be where you want to start. Existing relationships and friendships on Facebook, Instagram, or any of the other online platforms may have already instantiated the type of relationship you have with them. And that relationship does not necessarily include them looking to you for seeds of information, help, or inspiration. 

    In this instance of reality, starting another page for that purpose is more suited to gathering an audience for that type of information feed.

Be Authentic

    Whether it's through direct messaging, commenting on a post, or sharing content, always aim to present your authentic self online. Authenticity helps to build trust, respect, and ultimately stronger connections. Aligning yourself to your goals will generally lead you to the type of information you want to talk about. There are tools that will help you generate video, and voice-to-text, and come up with ideas. But you do want to have a central idea of what you want to talk about and what your goals are in the first place.

Engage Regularly

    Regular interaction is essential in maintaining and strengthening your digital connections. Take a few moments each day to reach out to someone, comment on a post, or share interesting content. One of the things that I learned online is parallel to this, in the game, I play, TopWar, I have become a player who is relied upon for Information and also for help. This would not have happened. Had I not started to communicate every day, every time I jumped online to the game. When I started playing the game, that was not how I tried to make connections with people. I would post something, get no response, and think to myself, OK nobody's really interested in that type of communication.

    The reality was, that if you were going to post online or you're going to try to communicate online, you can't rely on responses as a key metric of whether or not you were useful in that environment.

Offer Value

    Always aim to offer value in your digital interactions. This could be through sharing helpful resources, providing constructive feedback, or simply offering words of encouragement. Offering value will make your connections more meaningful and satisfying for both parties.

    I will go back to buy a game that I play. I created a Discord channel for the server I play on, and at first, I was able to get a few people to use it. But after a more seasoned player also joined, they championed the use of the channel, and then much more than just our alliance, many other alliances joined as well. I did this, creating the channel, against the seeming wishes of the current alliance leader that I was a member of. 

    What ended up happening is that a good portion of the members of DOA migrated to NEO(alliance abbreviations, or acronyms, yes you can pronounce them). And since then everything has remained pretty much the same. 

Show Empathy

    Even though you're communicating through a screen, don't forget the human on the other side. Show empathy and understanding in your digital interactions. This will foster deeper emotional connections and mutual respect.

    To recognize when someone is put off by a particular post or communication is difficult online as you cannot see body language, intonation of voice, and other signs that something has affected adversely one of your members or audience.

Respect Boundaries

    Every person has different comfort levels and boundaries when it comes to online interactions. Always respect these boundaries and communicate your own to ensure a healthy digital connection.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you may not be able to retain some of your audience. They may remove themselves from your digital presence. This happens in real life as well. So it should not come as a huge surprise.

Be Patient

    Building connections takes time, whether they're digital or in-person. Be patient, give your relationships time to grow organically. My presence, for example in TopWar, did not take off for over a year. Some environments grow faster, and individual results will vary. 

Celebrate and Support

    Celebrate the successes of your digital connections and offer support during challenging times. This will strengthen your bond and show them that you genuinely care about their well-being. One of the things I found that was attractive to online communication in the game I play, for example, is congratulating members on achieving feats, collecting items, or being able to be tougher targets.

    Also, keep to a minimum of talking about your own experience. And ask more questions about everybody else's experience. This will give the communication an almost tilted or skewed direction whereas they will begin to look to you for answers if you aren't always just talking about yourself.

Reflect and Adjust

    Periodically reflect on your digital connections. Consider if they are fulfilling and beneficial to you. Don’t be afraid to adjust your approach or even disconnect if a relationship is not serving you well. This article I'm writing is a perfect example of my reflection on how I performed communication-wise in the game I play.

Conclusion:

    Nurturing digital connections requires effort, patience, and sincerity. With intention and consistency, you can foster meaningful online relationships that can be as rewarding and valuable as your in-person connections. As our world becomes more digitized, developing these skills will only become more important. So, take the time to nurture your digital connections, and enjoy the rich and diverse relationships that can bloom in the digital landscape.

    I used to consider myself awkward and socially impaired. By learning the ins and outs of blogs, writing, and communicating with digital communities, such as games, and FaceBook, and selecting a charity for myself to champion, I have grown beyond what I was told and no longer feel as awkward as I did.

~Paul


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