Have a coffee in the real world
Like a lot of Melbournians I'm addicted to the wicked bean and I love time spent remote working with a latte, mastering my little Gaggia at home or a 'relaxed' weekend family brunch. Because of this, I follow the Facebook and Twitter accounts of my favourite local cafes and coffee roasters like Proud Mary and St Ali. I enjoy keeping up with what's going on, and I'm learning a lot about the industry at the same time.
Now, imagine I want to reach out and engage with someone I've been following with interest. Because I follow their feeds, I know that this is not an ideal time using social media because this week Melbourne is hosting the World Barista Championship and the International Coffee Expo. The people I follow are online all right, but excitedly welcoming international friends to town and talking about the event, and unlikely to be open to any other messages.
So what could I do? I could wait until a better time, or follow the conversations and retweet anything interesting to help them get their messages out (I should do that anyway). But I could also recognise a golden opportunity to make a connection to my online community by attending the event in person.
It's sometimes easy to feel that by being part of a community online that the interaction needs to stay there. But by making the effort to commit to something face-to-face, you get a chance to strengthen relationships and get a deeper understanding of the people you are interested in (and a good coffee at the same time).
So what else could you do to take social into the real world? Look out for events your community hosts or attends, or consider organising a meet-up of your own. More importantly, be a regular - use their services where possible and be their champion on and offline. And, maybe just see where the offer of a good coffee could take you.