A little over a decade ago, I moved to Kingston after graduating college. I was very motivated to get a job in my education field but, being the introvert that I am, traditional in-person networking was terrifying. Instead, I began to make connections online via social media. I followed anyone on Twitter that had #ygk in their bio and reached out on LinkedIn to any communications professionals in the area. I hoped to get my name out there but I didn’t expect the sense of community and lifelong friendships I made. Using social media, I was able to get to know people first and learn about their hobbies and interests. Then, when I met them at a local event, I felt comfortable going up to them because I had already broken the ice. I could congratulate them on an achievement or ask how their kid’s dance recital was. They didn’t feel like a stranger or that I was bothering them because we had already built a relationship. A lot of these people are now those that I turn to in both my personal and professional life. My first Kingston friends and business connections are now weekly lunch dates, my financial planner, my mortgage agent, my motherhood inspirations, and more.
Years have passed since those days and a lot has changed – both online and offline. While I still use social media to connect with like-minded people, it is more related to interests or stages of my life instead of community building. I’m still meeting new people from Kingston online but there has been a shift away from taking those connections offline even before COVID-19.
It’s time to change that. I want to start meeting people in person again. I want to learn more about my connections beyond 280 characters, filtered images, or dance trends. So here is my pitch: let’s meet for coffee. Whether I’ve known you for years or you only know -of- me online, I want to buy you a coffee and have a conversation. Contact me so we can schedule a time at your favourite coffee place.