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Online to offline relationships: My 10 in 3 challenge

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 hashtag #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.

March 3 update

Earlier this year, I gave myself the challenge of converting 10 online relationships into offline, in-real-life relationships by the end of March. I called it my #10N3 Challenge. I’m nearly two-thirds through the challenge period and thought it was time to provide an update.

I’m right on track

So, how am I doing at it? Surprisingly, I’m right on track. Through March 3, I’ve made 9 connections—which means that I’m actually ahead of schedule. I also have #10 scheduled for later this week, so barring unforeseen circumstances, I should meet my goal. But I’m not planning on stopping there. I’d like to exceed my goal and hit at least 12 by the end of the challenge. We’ll see how it goes.

The surprise so far

I’m feeling pretty good about how I’ve done in meeting the challenge so far. It’s been great to connect in person with people I’ve grown to know over the last several months or, in some cases, years. It’s amazing how easy it is to connect with people after only simple and occasional online interactions.

But, to be honest, I’ve been just as pleased with the other relationships I’ve fostered during this time. While for one reason or another, they didn’t count towards the #10N3 Challenge, I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with them.

Final results

It’s April now, and the final results are in. I exceeded my goal by 1, converting 11 online relationships into IRL ones within my three month goal. I nearly added two additional ones, but both of those were postponed for later this month.

All in all, it’s been a worthy endeavor, and I anticipate that several of these IRL relationships will continue to deepen over time.

5 thoughts on “Online to offline relationships: My 10 in 3 challenge”

  1. What a great idea, Scott. I’m so glad you are branching out. I don’t know if I really count as someone who went from an on-line relationship to an off-line one but I’ll pretend I’m part of this movement in some way! 🙂

  2. Sorry Ayesha, I don’t think you fit within the rules as I’ve defined them. But, luckily, that doesn’t mean we can’t get together – there’s nothing about continuing to expand existing offline relationships.

  3. Pingback: In real life relationships: my #10N3 Challenge update — R Scott Jones

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