I’m creating a personal goal of proactively reaching out to 10 people I know only online and establishing an offline relationship with them in the next 3 months. I’m going to call it my #10N3 challenge.

A little bit of background

I’ve been hovering around the edges of a few social media communities for awhile now. Over the last few months, I’ve been following and occasionally interacting with the Phoenix twitter crowd. The absence of a sense of community has always been one of my disappointments with the Phoenix metro area, so I was amazed and impressed with the community-building events they’ve been hosting.

I decided that I should get more involved.

So when Twitter launched its lists feature, I thought it was a great way to chart out progress in turning those “I follow online” relationships into “we’ve actually met” ones. The result were two incomplete lists of Phoenix-area folks that I hadn’t met yet and ones I had.

To that end, I’ve stopped by an occasional tweetup or #pfn or #smunch. I’ve been truly amazed with some of the cool people I’ve briefly met already – and I know I’m only scratching the surface. So I’m not only interested in expanding that list, but deepening it as well.

This is an attempt to do just that. At its core, this challenge is about creating even more value from the investment I make every time I tweet, post a photo online, or add a reply to a forum post.

My #10N3 Challenge

So, here it is: I am challenging myself to convert 10 of my online-only relationships into offline “in-real-life” relationships in the next 3 months.

Because of the holidays and my own travel schedule, I’m not starting the clock until the New Year arrives. This is about adding value to my social media experience, so I’m planning on reporting back my progress on the days I get paid.

The rules

  • Must be one-on-one conversations to count. It doesn’t count if we just talk in a crowd of people (unless the conversation is direct, personal, extended, etc). It’s best if these are organized with the specific purpose of meeting to chat, like inviting someone out for coffee or a hike.
  • Half of them must be people I’ve never met in person, however briefly. The rest can be people with whom I’ve shaken hands or exchanged pleasantries, but didn’t get into a real conversation with.
  • They can be from any social media platform (twitter, facebook, flickr, sports forums, etc), but they have to be people with whom I’ve already establish some sort of online relationship (friends on facebook, I follow them on twitter, foursquare fan, subscribe to their blog, etc). On platforms where reciprocation is not required (eg twitter), it’s enough that I follow them. It doesn’t count if I meet them at an event and then follow them on twitter or subscribe to their blog.
  • We don’t have to become best buds in real life as a result of meeting in person. That’s not what this is about.
  • While I have my own short list of people I’d like to meet during this challenge, I’m not publishing it or holding myself accountable to it.

Of course, this is my challenge and therefore my rules, so I may end up amending them as circumstances warrant. However, I see this as a real personal challenge and am treating it as such.

I’m going to be using the hastag #10N3 on twitter if you’d like to follow my progress or adopt your own challenge. If you decide to join along with me in this goal, please let me know and I’ll post a link.