Virtual and Online Friendships: An Epiphany from The Sales Lion

by Marcus Sheridan

virtual relationships

The always elegant Gini Dietrich, hailing a taxi. ;-)

As I write this article I’m sitting in a hotel room on the 53rd floor, looking out across the city of Atlanta, and feeling quite pensive in this moment. I’m here to speak at the Optimization Summit 2011 put on by Marketing Sherpa (#SherpaLPO on twitter). I’ll be speaking tomorrow afternoon to a group of 200 or so people about SEO and content marketing, a pretty funny fact considering just over 2 years ago I honestly didn’t know what the definition of a ‘blog’ was. But if there is one thing life has taught me recently, it’s that anyone of us can undergo a complete career and life makeover if we but hold true to our passion, vision, and are willing to put in the work. Yesterday I was a pool guy. Today I’m flying around the country, speaking to people with 10 times my IQ. It’s all rather nuts and almost makes me laugh just writing this….

The Reality of Online and Virtual Friendships

But I just want to briefly touch upon a subject today that I think we’re all dealing with in one way or another, and I really hope my words here properly express my feelings on this matter.

Have you ever wondered if all these online relationships we have are actually real? Do you think it a bit odd that we have close ‘friends’ that we’ve never meet in person? And do you ever ask yourself if your online relationships really matter?

In the last year, I’ve built more online friendships than I ever imagined possible. Like many of you, I’ve spent hours reading other people’s content, sharing their stuff, connecting with emails, chatting on skype, and on and on and on. This may sound silly, but I’ve got more friends right now than I ever have in my life, and of course this all has to do with the power of the internet, and the fact that I’m in a community where the people work much harder on building up and promoting others than they do themselves. It’s a unique group, and every day I’m blown away by just how much people care about the success others.

All of this notwithstanding, I want to share with you a little story that had a profound impact on me last week, and answered the questions I posed above in a very definitive manner.

Looking for a Cab with Gini and JF in NYC

Last Wednesday night, after having gone out with the wonderful group from Livefyre to a great restaurant, I found myself walking the streets of NYC with Gini Dietrich and John Falchetto. For the previous two days, we three had spent quite a bit of time chatting, laughing, and picking on each other in person—something that was a first after having become pretty close friends, at least in the virtual sense, over the previous 5 months or so..

But now our time together was coming to a close. Gini and John had to catch flights the next morning to Chicago and France, and I would be staying through one more day for what would end up being a most fateful final keynote experience ;-)

For whatever reason, on this particular night, we couldn’t seem to find a cab to take us to our hotels. John and Gini were going to hop in one together to go further downtown, and I needed one to take me across the river to Queens. But despite the fact there were what seemed to be hundreds upon hundreds of taxis, every single one was either ‘off duty’ or already had passengers.

So we walked and walked…and laughed….and complained…and yelled at all the yellow cars…and then walked some more.

Finally, I noticed an available cab, called it, and told John and Gini to jump in. John and I quickly said our goodbyes and second later, Gini and I gave each other a big smile and hug, each wishing the other well…..and then they were off.

It’s Real

At the risk of sounding cheesy to many here (no picking allowed ;-) ), in that moment of saying goodbye to my two ‘virtual’ friends, I actually felt myself getting a little choked up. Honestly, this feeling was completely unexpected and it took me quite a bit by surprise. In fact, I can remember standing there and thinking, “My goodness, I really care about these people.”

It was also in that moment the reality of online relationships hit me. I came to understand that service to others, in all its forms, whether it be on a computer screen or in person, will forever be the tie that binds. And the relationships that we form through these acts of friendship and service can be as strong as any relationship we have in ‘real’ life.

This is what we all do each and every day folks. We invest in relationships (or at least we should be ;-) ), and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of. And speaking of relationships, I want to close by asking readers to consider two acts of service for two of my/our online friends today:

1. Some of you, like Brad from Bigfeet Marketing, have asked me about the people I met at Blogworld. Well, my buddy Marlee Ward (who I had an absolute blast with in NY) wrote an amazing article about all the cool people she/we met there and it was so well done I had to share it with all of you(plus it’s wayyyy better than anything I could write). Full of photos and snippets on tons of people there, it will be worth a look, and I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy it and share it as well.

2. Yesterday, a friend of the community, Frank Dickinson (@FrankDickinson)tweeted about his daughter who has been in the hospital all week and is in pain, unable to walk. He asked for our thoughts and prayers, which I hope we can all do, but if you would be so kind, I think it would be great if you would also consider dropping him a brief note of encouragement on the contact form of his website. As a parent of four myself, there is nothing worse or harder than watching one of your own suffer, and anything we can do to help Frank would be great.

Your Turn:

OK, it’s time we chat folks, and I hope if you have any thoughts,feelings, or questions about anything at all in this article, that you won’t hesitate to jump in below. Also, as to a specific question, what have you learned about building relationships online since you started blogging/networking? Do you feel like your ‘virtual’ relationships can be as strong as your normal, face to face relationships you have in everyday life? As always, I invite all readers to share their thoughts below. :-)

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{ 135 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia@lavender-oil June 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hi Marcus

Great that you could meet up with your virtual friends and spend some time together. I too have met some truly amazing people online and there are some who I now call friends.

Because we are all doing similar things, have the same objectives and are part of a community, seems to accelerate the process of getting to know people well. Also helps that we are all online for big chunks of the day so keep bumping into each other too ;-)

And I love the fact that these virtual friends that are half way across the globe can be easily contacted through social media or even better, can talk with them on Skype :-)

Patricia Perth Australia

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

I really like what you said about how all these things we do ‘accelerates’ relationships Patricia. That’s exactly the way to put it. With so many incredible tools, and the ability to be ‘in touch’, the possibilities are wild.

Thanks for coming by and thanks for all your support Patricia!

Marcus

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phil June 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

they are real….duh…unlike fantasy friends we find in books movies tv shows etc and think of as real person who is actually fiction….ie soap opera addicts…sad…but i say embrace the friends on the internet..you will never regret it

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

Agree! No regrets here! ;-)

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Ana @ Traffic Generation June 5, 2011 at 6:12 am

You are so right, Phil. It is amazing how real these friendships are, even when we never meet our friends in person. Online we pay more attention to one another than we do in person and I think it is that shift in perspective that causes these deep friendships to grow.

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Hey Ana! Your point about how we pay attention to others online, compared to others offline, is an interesting one, and in many ways is spot-on. Plus, because we’re supporting each other do something that means so much to us individually, it heightens said awareness even more.

Thanks for stopping by, it’s great to see you. :-)

Marcus

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Jami Babco June 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

Marcus,

I am the Social Media Specialist for Pool Corp, I found you by reading your blogs on swimming pools and thought they were great. But, I have to say- I you have found your calling: your voice, tone and your gift for anticipating your social media audiences’s needs is profound. Thank you and I look forward to every post!

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

Hi Jami! What a pleasure it is to have you stop in for a visit! And such kind words too!

Glad you liked the post and look forward to chatting more in the future :-)

Marcus

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Fred Leo June 2, 2011 at 11:56 am

Awesome points Marcus. There is nothing like a offline meeting to make you realize that your online relationships are absolutely real.

In March, I went to SXSW. I got to meet tons of people who I met previously online. My experience was just like yours. These are real relationships. But, I think that it is important to point out that they are only real relationships if you make them real.

And, I am always wanting to meet new cool people online. Send me an email (fred@solobizcoach.com), send me a DM on Twitter , talk to me on Facebook. Let’s start making these true relationships!

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

Sweet Fred, I had no idea you’d been to SXSW. I’ve been thinking about making that trip, plus I think Austin is awesome! ;-)

Your point about relationships are only as real as you make them is spot-on. Just like anything that is of value, we must nourish these relationships and tend to them—only then will they produce fruit.

Thanks so much for stopping by Fred and I really appreciate your support!

Marcus

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Marlee June 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Yay Marcus!
I’m so excited for you. I hope you will be recording your presentation and sharing it with us. I would LOVE to have the opportunity to hear you speak on stage! Looks like I’ll have to wait for that BlogWorld keynote you’ll hold one day. ;)

Thanks for the mention, but I know you really just want to show off that lion-like picture I posted of you. ;)

Best of luck today. I know you’re going to rock their socks off. And…as always thank you for taking the time to shed a little light on others in need today. I know that stuff counts big time and I’ll be sure to take you up on your suggestion to encourage.

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john Falchetto June 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Funny Marlee he pulled the same face on the last night in the taxi as he passed us.

Must be the famous Lion grin :)

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Hahaha John…that’s just how we Lions roll brother ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for the kind words Marlee, and yes, I did ‘break a leg’. It went very well and the energy and humor was at, shall we say, a ‘hi’ level ;-)

Again, great job on your article. I read it and couldn’t believe how thorough you had been….and dang you really know some people girl!!!

Have a great weekend.

Marcus

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Peggy Baron June 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Hi Marcus,

This a profound post, and actually one I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. How did you know?

I take my online relationships very seriously, probably because I’m online for most of my day and these people “get” what I do, why I do it, and we have common ground. I like that I can share a different side of me than my face-to-face friends see. It allows me to grow in many ways.

Online relationships are real – you get people who will clear their desk and immediately help you out of a jam or offer you the perfect business advice, and you do likewise. And I think it’s just like face-to-face relationships – some grow strong and deep and others are merely friendly.

I do find it strange to actually meet some of these virtual friends in person. Strange at first, but I welcome the chance to get to know them on another level. I’m going to a conference in August and I’ll actually get to meet several of my online friends. I’m looking forward to it!

Thanks,
Peggy

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm

You’re going to a conference Peggy? Sweet! Is is PLR? Tell me more ;-)

I really like how you mentioned your online friends will ‘drop what they’re doing’ to help. I’ve seen this again and again and it’s really amazing– and it also means you have a huge network/army of ‘helpers’ to assist with any given issue. How awesome is that ?!

But thanks so much for commenting Peggy and I very much appreciate your support here on TSL. Have a great weekend.

Marcus

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Gini Dietrich June 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

First of all, I’m pretty sure that’s not me because I wasn’t wearing a sleeveless shirt. But dang! I’m buff!

Secondly, this made me tear up. I’ll never forget the goofy face you gave John and me from the cab next to us. I’m glad it was a quick goodbye or I would have cried for sure. Goodbyes suck, but the fact that we’re all so close online makes it feel like I never really left you.

It’s a strange world we live in now. I never would have met you or John or Danny or Troy or Mark or anyone else not in my little neck of the woods without the blogosphere. I’m very thankful for it.

Good luck with your speech – you’ll kill it!

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Jayme Soulati June 3, 2011 at 9:20 am

OK, I need to know if that’s your arm. I’m having a heart attack over here; how can anyone have an arm like that with muscles where there are none? OK, Marcus, I know it ain’t 10 p.m. to hijack comments on blogs (my new rule), but this arm thing is killing me.

Dang, and I’m gonna check that stupid box. Please don’t crash my server this time.

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 9:43 am

Hahahaha Jayme! Sorry, but that’s not Gini, although it dang well could have been!!! :-)

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Jayme Soulati June 3, 2011 at 9:48 am

OhHH, whew, as she breathes a sigh of relief. I mean I already have Gin Blossom on a pedestal (her bike trainer), but if she really had that arm then I would not know what to think about bodies being a temple and all that.

Especially b/c @johnfalchetto went home to France to run something like a gazillion-man extreme triathlon with jet lag. (Just feelin’ slightly out of my league here.)

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Gini Dietrich June 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm

HAHAHAHAH!!

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm

It is a strange world Gini, that is for sure. The entire social dynamic has been turned upside, and it’s never going to be the same…but I say that with extreme gratitude.

Do you know what I like so much about having this group of ours? I like the fact that for the first time in my life I’m completely surrounded by folks that think just like me. We’re all driven. We all love talking about growth and goals and success. Although I’ve got many friends, these are subjects that don’t necessarily come up. And these connects just happen naturally over time, as has happened with all of us.

Oh, and about the photo, kinda cool that everyone thought that was you, huh? Nothing like being super woman ;-)

Thanks for stopping by lady…and thanks for making my NY trip such a special one. :)

Oh, and btw, the talk was awesome. Really-stinking-awesome. :-)

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Gini Dietrich June 5, 2011 at 11:33 am

And you know what else I like about our group? The fact that, even though we think alike in many ways, we also debate and disagree with one another without prejudice or judging. I like that even more because it opens my mind and allows me to think about things differently.

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barbara June 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm

This is very interesting to me Marcus. Since we (MadnessMomandMe.com’s Lee Sequiera, StyleManiac.blogspot.com’s Doreen Creede and I, Zeroto60andBeyond.com ) started The Blogstress Network it was all about connecting in person with people who understand blogging.

I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy meeting more local bloggers and, an added bonus, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many more great bloggers all over the world who’ve become friends. I truly do consider them friends and some like family.

It’s an interesting point, however, when you realize that your blogging friends probably know more about you personally than many of your local friends. I mean, how long have you known someone , considered them a friend and they don’t know some of the things about your past that your blogging friends know.

My blog has been a surprise to some of my ‘real’ friends. I ran into an old friend on the street after writing about a very difficult time in my childhood. She stopped dead in her tracks and grabbed my shoulders and said, “Oh My God, I had no idea! That was so sad and depressing I couldn’t even finish it.”

I said, “Hey, I’m here now, I survived and honestly that part of my life made me who I am today.”

Conversely, I gained some amazing blog friends from that same post. People who had similar childhoods and felt ashamed to speak to it. My post helped them deal with their own demons. It was an amazing feeling and created a true bond.

I understand your question completely. We bare our souls on our blogs. We certainly don’t go into all of our ‘stuff’ in personal social situations. It would take too much time for one thing. In many ways I feel our blogging relationships are deeper than our casual friendships.

I have many blog friends I look forward to meeting in person. You included.
b

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Barbara, I gotta tell ya, I’m really starting to like you a lot!! And boy am I glad you’ve stumbled upon the community here. :-) You just add so much value with your thought provoking comments and this one is the perfect example as to how sharing ourselves in-turn impacts others deeply and forms a bond that can last forever. Blogging, in so many ways, is a labor of love. It’s service. And it’s because of this that magic occurs.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend Barbara and continued success to you and your blog.

Cheers,

Marcus

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barbara June 3, 2011 at 9:05 pm

I’m so glad you’re starting to like me a lot Marcus, because I’m liking you a lot too! You do such a great job here of encouraging community and I want to carry that forward in my blog and with The Blogstress Network. You’ve set the bar high… I like that!
Thanks!
b

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Randy Cantrell June 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Marcus, “virtual” once meant “fictitious.” Think virtual world with virtual characters. Second Life type stuff.

I suspect some people fail to realize that today, it transcends online and offline. It’s just simply REAL people making real connections that wouldn’t be available if we didn’t have technology capable of shrinking the world. Time zones, geographic boundaries and cultures don’t limit us. The ties that bind us today are common interests, shared passions, mutual tastes and tons of fun.

Behind every blog post, podcast, video, Tweet, Facebook entry is a real, living human being. As always, it’s people who matter. Thanks for what you do, but more importantly, thanks for being who you are!

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Dang Randy, this was great, it’s just a shame we don’t have a comments video plugin that would allow everyone to hear you behind the mic…(still loving that post you did at Keith’s house btw ;-) )

But I really dig how you said: The ties that bind us today are common interests, shared passions, mutual tastes and tons of fun.

In the past, I think this answer would have been location based more than anything. Now it’s interest based. What an amazing switch it has been! Very profound when one takes a good look at just what’s happening to the world.

Anyway, I very much appreciate all your support Randy. Thanks so much for coming by and go Mavs. :-)

Marcus

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Lucretia Pruitt June 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm

If you search it, you’ll find so many pundits pontificating on the nature of online relationships and condemning them to “weak bonds” that don’t compare to their offline, geographically dependent friends… But I, like you, have found the opposite to be true.

Until 2 months ago (long, unrelated story) I would’ve told you that one of my best friends in the world was one I met online. Without blogging and twitter? I would’ve never know her. Despite the status change, I can still say that my experiences have proven to me that my “imaginary friends” from the Internet are very real, close friends whom I miss terribly whenever we part ways at the end of an event.

I have always maintained that this is due, in part, to the fact that we often know more about our fellow online denizens than we would know about someone who we had worked with for years. We share more readily, we let people more deeply into our lives, we see the areas we have in common more quickly.

When I click on the subscribe button, I’m inviting someone into my inbox and into my life. It’s not a casual commitment to me. We only have so many minutes in a day. I choose to spend many of mine with my online friends. So getting face-to-face time with them is heavenly. :)

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Davina K. Brewer June 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm

You hit on something I was going to Lucretia, so I gotta chime in: the Invite. Our online friends are by choice, our choice based on our goals and interests, our hopes and passions. You don’t pick your family, even your work and school friends are sort of a happy accident. The people we keep in our RSS readers and Twitters, we’ve picked them for a reason; I’ve found some kindred spirits online, so it’s fun to spend time with them online.. in person, an extra special treat. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Wow Lucretia, that was really powerful, especially what you said at the end about how hitting subscribe is not a casual commitment to you. That’s really telling of the type of person you are, and shows you’re quite the ‘giver’ when it comes to your relationships, on or offline I’m sure.

This being said, I hope not to let you down with the content here, as I love you stopping by and sharing like you do.

Have a great weekend.

Marcus

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Lucretia Pruitt June 4, 2011 at 1:20 am

You’re one to talk Marcus! ;) Seriously, your community here is so strong because you actually read, respond, and care about the people who spend their time here – you are the embodiment of your principles. That rings true.

Your content won’t let me or anyone else down as long as you keep giving us stuff like this, my friend.

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Eugene June 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

God! I can’t believe you got choked up! :)

The friendships are totally real because you are still sharing and communicating with REAL people. And when you tell each other personal stories, and talk, and laugh it is still real, even though it might be through a computer screen.

By the way, should the people in Atlanta be expecting any Dirty Dancing references?

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paul wolfe June 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm

…or any Dirty Dancing Moves more to the point?

:)

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Gini Dietrich June 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

HAHAHAHA! Dirty Dancing. LOL!

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Gini, I so hope you get to see my Dirty Dancing segment of the seminar. Literally, everyone was laughing. And I was thinking about you the whole time, no kidding!! :-)

Geez I can’t wait for you to sit in one of my seminars in the future and I drop a DD reference. They might have to carry you out of the class room. ;-)

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Gini Dietrich June 5, 2011 at 11:34 am

I CANNOT WAIT!

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Hahaha Eugene, you make me laugh brother! And for the record, yes, I dropped a DD reference in my seminar and had everyone laugh–no kidding. Wish you could have seen it. Gotta love the LION :-)

Have a great weekend man!

Marcus

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Lori Gosselin June 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Marcus,
You’re fortunate that you got to BWNY and got to meet the people you’ve spent so much time with here online! I’m not surprised the experience was real and validated the feelings you had before you met, There is an energy exchange even here, online. It isn’t only our words but the stuff between the words that connects us.

I’m sure I wouldn’t be surprised at the meeting of anyone I’m getting to know in the virtual world when I meet them offline. If anything, we reveal more of ourselves online, typing in these little boxes, thinking we’re private and nearly anonymous. The true essence of who we are comes through. There is no hiding here, and LOL BLOGGERS don’t want to hide! You do get to “know” people here. And that’s a good thing!

That being said, I haven’t tested these ideas but I bet you could validate them.
;-)
Lori

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Bill Dorman June 3, 2011 at 8:55 am

Hug, or no hug? Just askin’…….

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm

The stuff between the words.. hmmm, I like that one Lori, I think I’ll borrow it for myself ;-)

You’re right though, we do share so much online, often times more than we share with friends in real life. I’m not fully sure why that it, I just know it is….Maybe because writing forces us to analyze our thoughts, and really make ourselves consider where we stand with something.

You’re such a kind person Lori and I hope you know I very much appreciate it when you stop by with your always positive vibe. :-)

Have a great weekend.

Marcus

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Lucretia Pruitt June 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

I think it’s partially because of the fact that we connect with people online *because* we share that much here and it rings true for some and becomes the basis for the relationships. Friendships that are formed offline tend to find their origins in other situations – either we work with someone, meet them through other friends, or in a circumstance that might not lend itself to that sort of sharing (hobbies, church, kids’ schools, etc.) immediately.

We tend to find people online because of their words or their pictures and the topics they are passionate about. We tend to find people offline because of the geographic proximity and similar circumstances. Those lend themselves to different growth patterns. We know what our online friends believe in passionately – but not, perhaps, what they do in their offline time.

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john Falchetto June 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Hi Buddy,

You know, just like Gini I have this big smile of yours in my mind when you pulled that goffy face in the taxi.

These two days went by way too fast and I hope we get to meet up again soon, and I mean it.
So let’s make it happen.

I just saw Frank’s tweet and yes, it’s in time like these that the community should rally and show our support. Off to chat with him.

John

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Bill Dorman June 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

I’m still jealous of you guys. I would have gone just to meet everyone. And I know some of it would be just preaching to the choir because we are all in the same circle at times, but what a hoot and some of the stories we could tell.

Hope you have a good weekend John. Oh sorry Marcus, I forgot this was your post.

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Haha Bill, appears I’m not the only goof-ball in these parts ;-) But I guess this just means you’ll have to get off your duff and come to the next big ‘get together’, now won’t you ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Yes John, it did go by much too fast. That’s why we need to get the group together and do one of those JF ‘retreats’ I’ve heard so much about. That would be stinking awesome. :-)

And yes, I am a pretty goofy guy….but a proud goofy I am ;-)

Marcus

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Ken Mueller June 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I’m with you, Marcus. My online relationships have turned into great offline ones. I’ve even blogged about it quite a few times. And I can’t wait to meet people like Gini, etc. “in real life” at some point.

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Hey Ken!! Glad to hear your online relationships have worked out well, and I do hope you’re able to come on by the next big event where everyone is able to get together, as seeing Gini alone is worth any ticket ;-)

Marcus

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Theresa Bradley-Banta June 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Hey Marcus!

Well… you even managed to choke me up. And I wasn’t there! I get goose bumps thinking about farewells. And friends I have yet to meet in ‘real’ life.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed out loud at comments people leave on my blog and in their replies to the comments I’ve written. I’m touched by everyone’s efforts to cross promote. I’m fascinated when I picture the people I know online in their ‘real’ lives. Takes some imaginiation… but not much. I’m moved by the struggles we all face. And I celebrate the wins as if they were my own.

Because when we write, when we share our own lives, we give a little bit of ourselves. And that is very real.

This is a truly wonderful post. You’ve touched me deeply. Thank you.

T

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I’m moved by the struggle we all face —I think this statement really sums it all up Theresa. This whole thing we call blogging ain’t easy. It’s tough and taxing at times. And when we are having our struggles, it sure does help to know so many people are cheering us one, ready to help us get even further along down the path.

I appreciate so much your kind words Theresa and thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend. :-)

Marcus

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Kaarina Dillabough June 2, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Marcus, the first things I did: connected with Marlee via her web page and twitter, and sent along positive thoughts and prayers to Frank. I think that, in itself, shows the power of our online communities and friendships. When we “know, like and trust” someone, online or off, we WANT to be of service in any way we can.

Funny that I’m reading this post today. I had a very big blow-up with an offline friend today: probably irreparable. And it was like a lightbulb went off. It got me to thinking that many of the online friends I’ve made recently have been more supportive, understanding and wonderful to me than a few of my offline.

What does that say? Is it because kindred spirits collectively find each other in these online communities? Is it because there’s an underlying underpinning of “being of service” that motivates so many of us online? I think perhaps so.

I’m gratified, honoured and oh so happy to have met so many wonderful people online who are REAL friends, and it’s made me very aware of who I now “know like and trust”…both online and off. Cheers! Kaarina

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Bill Dorman June 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

Give your offline friend a stone (or is that stoune) and it will make it all better……

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Kaarina Dillabough June 3, 2011 at 10:36 am

Now why didn’t I think of that?

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Hey Kaarina!! It makes me so happy to hear you have found a sense of community in your blogging efforts. That’s what this is all about, and there is no reason any of us should feel like we’re walking this road along….because we’re not.

And thanks so much for stopping by Marlee’s house Kaarina. She is awesome, and a great gal. You’ll like her. :-)

Have a great weekend!!

Marcus

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Steve@Internet Lifestyle June 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Marcus,

You have hit on an important truth here. Someone once said something about “friends being the family we choose”.

When you meet people in online situations, it is sometimes easy to forget that hiding behind that avatar is a living, breathing, thinking and feeling person. But when you give people the chance and open your heart you get to boost your pool of possible friendships.

Not being open to internet friendships is simply a way to keep your world a smaller and more provincial place.

Your real-life positive experiences are a great counterpoint to the siren call of “ROI for Social Media”

Gary Vaynerchuk said something about that once that touched me. When asked about the ROI of social media. He said, “What is the ROI of your mom”

He went on to make his point. You simply cannot put a price-tag on it. It matters too much to cheapen with a number. It is everything.

How much is a friendship worth. You cannot buy it; it can only be earned. So these online connections that can blossom into friendships are, in fact, priceless.

Thanks for pointing out something that should be obvious to us all, but in reality is only obvious to a very few.

-S

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at 12:15 am

Wow Steve, absolutely loved how you put this man, as you had quite a few powerful nuggets of wisdom with the things you said here– especially the concept that you really cannot put a number on the relationships that are created here. Metrics simply don’t fit what it is to form a friendship and its value, and you obviously have quite a handle on that Steve.

Thanks so much for stopping by man and continued success brother.

Marcus

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Joe @ Not Your Average Joe June 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Although I wonder if our “on-line” relationships can ever reach the depth of the ones that are flesh and blood, I certainly am grateful for the friendships I have made through my blog, and the way social media can instantly connect us if we so choose.

This is thought provoking, Big Cat…You certainly ask some great questions at the end of each post!!

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at 12:16 am

I appreciate your kind words Joe, you always bring me a smile with your huge kindness and compliments. Have a great week brother.

Marcus

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Christian Hollingsworth June 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Although the relationships often are virtual (only due to distance) I feel like they matter. The people I know online would certainly be my closets friends if we weren’t separated by hundreds, even thousands of miles.

So, in essence, I feel like it’s much the same.

For example, one of my great friends Rob – just sent me a book yesterday. It came in the mail. I was so appreciative and grateful for the tender gift. He cares, and I can feel it.

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at 12:21 am

Great example of a true friendship Christian, and it says a lot that you’re forming such relationships through your blogging endeavors. Keep it up brother and continued success. :-)

Appreciate you stopping by,

Marcus

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Mark Harai June 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Hi Marcus, my offline friend’s suck compared to my online friends – just kidding… sort of.

How do you connect deeply with those you have deep relationships with?

By talking. Communicating.

That’s how I know my wife so well and my closest friends. I’ve spent time with them and communicated.

If there was no communication, just pressing flesh or being in the same room would not have developed the depth of relationship I have with my strong offline friends and I certainly would not have fallen in love with my wife had I not communicated with her.

Funny, aren’t there a growing number of relationships between men and women online turning into successful marriages?

I don’t differentiate my offline friends from my online friends at all and quite frankly my online friendships are becoming more vital and valuable to my life then my offline friendships are.

THEY ARE REAL TO ME.

All the physical world does is limit my access to incredible people. The virtual world provides access to minds that feed me, nourish me, keep me, inspire me, motivate me and fulfill me.

Call me strange, but there isn’t any difference to me…

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Bill Dorman June 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

My offline friends are tired of hearing me talk; at least I have a captive audience in here……..

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Mark Harai June 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

For now mister :P

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Kaarina Dillabough June 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Did you say something Bill?

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at 12:25 am

All the physical world does is limit my access to incredible people. The virtual world provides access to minds that feed me, nourish me, keep me, inspire me, motivate me and fulfill me.

Most inspired sentence of the 100 or so comments here Mark. Wow, love that man, and appreciate the heck out of you for your support.

Have a tremendous week my friend.

Marcus

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Benny June 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm

People fall in love from chatting online and end up getting married. Some connecting from halfway around the world. So online relationships can definitely turn real and be more close than offline friendships.

I just did a guest post for Frank this week after meeting him on Twitter a couple weeks ago through another Twitter friend. Great guy and we bonded over a love of sushi. I definitely sent him an email about it.

Marlee just reached out to me on Twitter yesterday! I had seen her on different blogs as she did with me. Found out she lives in Orlando which is about 2.5 hours away from where I live! Seems like a wonderful person and did read her wrap up from BWE. I look forward to getting to know her more.

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Mark Harai June 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Benny, been seeing you everywhere, we must connect and start building : )

Off to see where I can find you!

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at 12:28 am

Sweet Benny! Love how you’re integrating yourself so much in the blogosphere and really growing your network my friend. And very cool you’ve connected with Marlee. Mark my words– that girl has got success written all over her. Getting to know her at blog world was one of the highlights for me, without question.

Anyway, hope you had a great weekend Benny and thanks so much for stopping by to leave a comment.

Marcus

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Srinivas Rao June 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Marcus,

The people Ive met online over the last few years have been the most amazing inspiring people Iv’e met in my whole life. That’s why I always say what social media has done is given us access to “a global network of inspiring people.” As Mark said above, I don’t think there is really a difference. Sid Savara who has been my partner on BlogcastFM has only met met me in person twice and we’ve worked together for over 14 months. What I love about the relationships I’ve formed is that they extend beyond my blog.

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Michael Lykke Aagaard June 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Marcus – funny how I got to meet you the other way round. I had no idea who you were till we by chance started talking in the elevator on the way to the 73 floor of the Westin Plaza.

So I got my introduction to you in real life – but I have a feeling that it could be the start of a beautiful online friendship ;-)

Your passion and enthusiasm are truly awe-inspiring! I can’t wait to hear you preach at the Optimization Summit tomorrow!

- Michael

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at 12:30 am

Michael, you rock my friend, and I’m simply thrilled we’ve made a connection. Plus, now when I’m in Denmark, I’ve a place to stay ;-)

Keep rocking it in your neck of the woods my friend and thanks for making that amazing video, I’ll likely be posting it here on TSL this week.

Cheers,

Marcus

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Lye Kuek Hin June 2, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Hi Marcus,

I strongly believe in some fate thing probably because i am Chinese. Two people from different countries or different background can get to know each other just simply they are destined to cross path in this life. This relationship can be much more precious in the online world.

For me high chance i will not be meeting you and some of the other blogging buddies i have come across. But this doesn’t mean we do not understand each other even though we have never met before.

It’s ironic sometimes online friendship can be closer to our offline friends. Probably it’s because we are finding it hard to meet each other, we cherish the friendship more than anything else.

Lastly, my heart goes to Frank as i have a young kid myself and fully understand what he has been going through at this difficult times. Will definitely drop him an email to show my support.

Lye

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Marcus Sheridan June 6, 2011 at 10:00 am

Hey Lye! So glad you stopped by man and your case is an interesting one, considering you live where you live– the internet truly has in your case opened up opportunities for friendships that you never would have like gotten. Awesome, isn’t it?!

Your support here rocks Lye and I’m grateful for your comment sir.

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer June 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Ok, so we’re just back from dinner Marcus and first, I must brag: I got 2.. count them TWO hugs!!!! So there! :-) Second, I loved the picture of you and Marlee on her post; as I told her… THAT makes me want to go to an event more than the content, the lectures. Third, I was really hoping for some quality blackmail material.. like you listen to Delilah radio (on purpose). Better luck next time I guess.

One acronym I’ve tried so hard to NOT use is IRL. This is very much part of my real life. Even if I didn’t have to work, wasn’t blogging for business and client development, I would still write, read, interact and have a ball doing so. Gonna share the same story again that I shared @Mark’s and with you.

I have no life and am way too TV obsessed. As part of one of those secret Twitter chats and forums, I’ve made friends. One reached out to me, just to check in, we chatted and emailed our frustrations, etc. It. Made. My. Day. We have nothing in common other than that connection (one we both chose, common interest), but it’s fostered a real friendship. Online, on the phone, on the town.. it’s all real. FWIW.

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Bill Dorman June 3, 2011 at 8:49 am

I’m still jealous……..

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Davina K. Brewer June 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Don’t worry Bill, I’m sure you’ll get your hug from Marcus someday.

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Robert Dempsey June 3, 2011 at 5:37 am

The funny thing is Marcus, it’s all real life.

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Stuart June 3, 2011 at 5:38 am

Dang Marcus, don’t get all emotional on us now! It’s gonna remind me of the sad scenes from The Lion King ;-)

Isn’t it interesting how great friendships can form from just about anywhere? We talk about the power of the internet, and how it’s the ‘great connector’, but I think we’ve yet to realise that the internet can also generate incredible friendships. And I don’t just mean ‘networking’, but friendships of a strong degree. Offline or online, we can hook up with anyone we want, and this increases our potential for making new friends.

Marlee’s article was truly amazing, especially as I love seeing ‘photo albums’ of cool events (and people). Your goofy grin suits you well ;-)

And Frank isn’t someone I know that well, but I’m sorry to hear of his plight. Heading over to this site now to offer support.

Take care Lord Sheridan :-)

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Bill Dorman June 3, 2011 at 8:48 am

Actually I was thinking of Dirty Dancing but that’s a whole different post….

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Gabriella - The Stepford Wife June 3, 2011 at 7:36 am

This was amazing to read.I think that we can all relate to this becase we are all online and have never met. Well, I like to think that I have an online community of friends that are there for me 24/7 – seeing as they are scattered all over the world it means that if at any time I need someone to talk to there is someone online either from the UK, China or Australia etc. I find it amazing that we can form such a great friendship online in a matter of weeks let alone months, but in real life… is it the same? Not really.

Anyway, I loved this post.

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Eric Pratum June 3, 2011 at 7:48 am

Hey, buddy. I live in Atlanta ;-)

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Al Smith June 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

Hey Marcus. Great stuff again. And yes, they are real. I am developing some awesome relationships on line. I always think (and look forward to) meeting all of these people I have come to know, like and trust. Really enjoyed speaking with you on the phone and to know that you are sincere and you do CARE about others, you don’t just “write” it, you “live” it ! Thanks again for all you do. Wish I was going to hear your talk today. Know u will do Great !

Al

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Bill Dorman June 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

Good Lord, I’m afraid to comment. Why don’t you start putting out some really crappy stuff so my e-mail on my phone is not clogged w/ 973 responses. Are you kiddin’ me?

I hear ya’ buddy; my wife thinks that these friends are not real. She says “oh, everybody thinks you are so perfect; they should try living with you…..”. But I will tell you, there is a core in this group I would trust implicitly; I just know what you see is what you get and I think it was confirmed to you on your trip to NY.

This ‘world’ is very deep reaching and if there is a ‘stinker’ out there I don’t think it would take long to figure that out.

Keep on truckin’ my man and I wish you much success on this journey. I see (hear) you working hard, staying up late, going here and there and I know you are doing it all for your family, but just remember they want your time as well…….just sayin’……

I hope you have a great weekend.

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Joe @ Not Your Average Joe June 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

Funny stuff, Bill. I can see my wife saying the same thing in some instances. That’s the great thing about on-line, for your friends to see your flaws and shortcomings, you have to write about them (something you do very well)!!

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Howie the Chief Alien June 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Did you tell your wife you are easy to life with if only she would tweet you when she needs you?

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bill dorman June 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm

No kidding, huh?

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Jayme Soulati June 3, 2011 at 9:14 am

Your topic above, stated so eloquently, Marcus, is one I’ve spoken, tweeted, blogged about. It tugs my heart when peeps in my stream decide to take hiatus b/c they have become my social network, foundation, business colleagues, and now friends.

I’ve asked to “be on the list” to get a call or note from someone’s family if anything ever happens to them. That’s how profound these relationships have become to me. And, I understand yours, too.

BTW, you made Gin Blossom cry, and if that’s her arm, then I’m a monkey’s aunt. I’ve never seen an arm as gorgeous as that; Holy Caw, Harry!

Oh, yeah, and b/c I’ve been privy to the numbers of comments on your blog posts, I’m NOT signing up to be notified of comments by email; I think you crashed my server. But, I’ll pop back in just in case.

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Bruce Bates June 3, 2011 at 9:35 am

I think I can safely say offline connections are WAY better then online connections. a real experience is equal to 10000 words.

I never expected this to be the case, but as my recent comments have been showing those who I am meeting on my journey, are the best of best connections.

Anyways not really much time for a comment, I gotta keep moving. Just wanted to stop in and say hello.

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Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing June 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

Hey, Marcus. First, let me say thank you for the shout out and link. Second, how could you not get a cab with Gini’s purse? ;) I’ll be heading to check out Marlee’s post after leaving this comment.

I think there’s some danger when too many of a person’s friends are online. We need that face-to-face interaction and online relationships never quite reach that point. The way you felt at the thought of Gini and John going back home demonstrates this. You’re still going to be able to carry on your virtual relationship, but it will never live up to the times when you’re able to meet in person.

That doesn’t mean that online relationships aren’t real or important. They’re both. In my own life, I’m finding that I’m quickly developing more online friends that offline friends. While these relationships are satisfying to me, I’m concerned that it’s a sign I need to spend a few hours less online and use that time to reach out to new people offline. Of course, the issue is that it’s so much easier to find new friends online.

What do you think? What’s the perfect balance of online vs. offline friends?

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Kristen Kelley June 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

It’s on online or offline per se, but the quality of interactions one brings to the table. You have an open spirit and heart, and your constant willingness to help others is unique. You are a great inspiration!

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Marianne Worley June 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

I also strongly believe that online friendships are the real deal. Meeting in person is like the icing on the cake.

We reveal so much about ourselves in our blogs. We build a strong, trusting bonds when we read, comment on, and share each other’s posts. It’s very powerful.

I feel like the people I connect with online have more insight into my life than most of my friends and family who actually see me regularly. Online communities give us such a great opportunity to expand our relationships far beyond what would have been possible 20 years ago. I can’t wait to meet everyone!

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Daniel M. Wood June 3, 2011 at 10:13 am

Hey Marcus,

Maybe it is time for you to write your book?
You are really getting around and you have made a name for yourself.
When you try selling the book this time I think you will find a lot less resistance.

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Ahhh Danny boy, so thoughtful of you to say that. Yes, I think we are getting much, much closer. The snowball seems to be growing. And more and more doors are opening. It’s very exciting, and fulfilling as well, because ultimately I’m just a guy that wants to help people…and I’ve got quite a bit of faith that this desire will translate to a book offer soon.

Cheers my friend, and have a wonderful weekend.

Marcus

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Rachael Seda June 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

I love this post! As I was running yesterday, I was actually think of writing something similar. It’s hard to explain to people “outside” of the social media world. When I talk about my friends (virtual) I don’t think my family & friends actually understand that they really are my friends and I care about them just the same. It really makes me so excited and warm inside. The people I have met through blogging and Twitter have truly been amazing and I cherish them. Thank you for writing this and explaining so eloquently my own feelings!

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm

That’s awesome Rachael! Oh, and welcome to TSL, you’ve got a huge community here that is more than happy to relate to you. :-)

I get you though about others not understanding what you do. If I had a dime for every time someone has said to me, ‘Marcus, what’s up with this blogging thing man?’, I’d be a wealthy dude. ;-)

Anyway, I hope you’ve subscribed Rachael and that you come back again, we always need more cheerful bloggers in these parts!

Marcus

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing June 3, 2011 at 11:51 am

Hey Marcus, first of all, good luck with your presentation tomorrow – though I know you don’t need it. Will you record it? Can we see it?

I’ve actually been wondering about this over the last couple of weeks, and I’m still figuring it out. I think the friendships are real, but like all friendships, they take time and contact to develop, so it takes longer online. I don’t know if that’s true, I’m still figuring it out.

I know that having spent some time on the phone with you, Robert Dempsey, Ryan Critchett, and a few others, this community feels a lot more real to me, and so do the connections. When Jk Allen called me out of the blue earlier this week, it completely made my day.

Likewise with genuine interaction via comments and emails – it’s really wonderful to feel appreciated and cared for, and it’s a feeling that can’t help but go in both directions.

I’m still figuring this out, and it’s a little different from offline friendships, but I think it’s definitely real. :)

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leon Noone June 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

G’Day Marcus,
It’s 2.30am here in beautiful downtown Sydney, Saturday, June 4. I’m sitting here resisting like merry hell the temptation to become all profound and insightful in responding to your post.

Just a couple of things….

Generosity is a much underrated virtue, Always be willing to give. It always comes back: not in the same way; not necessarily from the same person. But it always comes back in spades.

Whatever you do, don’t take yourself too seriously. What you do will always be more important than who you are.

On a personal level, I’m thrilled to bits to know you, cyberspace notwithstanding. And even if that’s not Gini Ds arm hailing a cab, I’d like to meet the woman who owns such a slender, elegant, delicate arm.

Relationships are where you find them. When they work out, just pinch yourself, look in the mirror and say, “I’m a really lucky bastard.” Take care not to analyse them out of existence. And remember the immortal words of David Frost: “Love is like sex. When it’s good it’s very, very good. And when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.”

And., of course, make sure you have fun.

As for me. I’ll just curmudgeon on!

Take care

Leon

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Jayme Soulati June 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Where’s the Like button? Like, Like Leon’s comment! So much so that I was encouraged to come back and say so, cuz, here this poor guy is at 2:30 a.m. in Aussie and commenting away. Who does that? And, also, I LOL’d when I read it.

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leon Noone June 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

G’Day Jayme,
Sydney is so spectacularly beautiful that you just want to drink it all in, 24 hours a day.
You sound like a woman of impeccably good taste. Put us out of our misery. Was it really your arm? Or is GD merely unbelievably modest?

Who would’ve thought a bloke who builds bloody swimming pools could keep us up this late?

I’m off. Don’t want him to get such a big head that he starts constructing in ground recreational facilities. That’s why there’s no “Like” button.

Make sure…..
Best Wishes

Leon

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Jayme Soulati June 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I’m coming clean, Leon! That entire physique is all mine; arm especially! I’m coming to visit, so keep the lights on!

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Hahahaha Leon. You literally kill me brother. Have you ever considered being a humor/comedy blogger?? ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Jayme, so glad you’ve now met Leon, one of the funniest Aussies you will ever meet. Seriously, the guy is a blast. :-)

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Leon, if I took and made a list of the top 10 comments all time on TSL, there’s a dang good chance this one would be on the list. :-) How someone can manage to write such humor at 2:30am is amazing unto itself, but your witty ways and diverse maxims never grow old my friend. :-)

Guess I’ll go have fun now. ;-)

Marcus

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Keith Davis June 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hi Marcus
“My goodness, I really care about these people.”

Guess you are human after all. LOL

We post, we surf, we comment and above all we become friends with people we most likely will never meet.
Is that a weakness or is it a strength?
I know what I think.

“Today I’m flying around the country, speaking to people with 10 times my IQ.”
Don’t tempt me Marcus, don’t tempt me. LOL

BTW – make sure that you blow them away with that speach.
Break a leg.

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I would never tempt THE Keith Davis ;-)

The seminar was a blast bud. I’m hoping to get the video and show it here. It was rocking and rolling, the only way I’d have it man. :-)

Have a great weekend mate and thanks kindly for stopping by.

Marcus

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Rajka Milanovic Galbraith June 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Aww! Loved the post!

I agree with several others that for whatever reason, we bloggers tend to open up more which allows these online relationships to grow quicker. The same is true for expats, we are in the same boat and share more readily!

Thanks for letting us know about Frank.

cheers,
Rajka

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Marcus Sheridan June 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Speaking of expats Rajka, I’d almost think you all would grow even closer because of the similar trials and triumphs you’re all going through.

But thanks so much for coming by. It always brings me a smile seeing you here and your positive take on everything. :-)

Marcus

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Howie the Chief Alien June 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Love this post Marcus. Yes the connections are totally real for a segment of our connections. I remember the first time I met anyone from Twitter and was really nervous. My friend Susan @satisfeye who is a grad student in toronto coached me to relax. Funny I spent like 10 years in direct sales with tons of cold calling (even by plane) to meet people I had barely exchanged a call with and here I was nervous meeting the wonderful people at Humongo Agency in Danbury CT whom I spent months tweeting with even following them on their awesome summer social media road trip online. I really enjoyed their company and they are now my friends. I even drove 90 minutes to Windham in the Catskills for dinner and beer with Kristien @KDel713 and her husband Danny last winter.

I think we all are attracted to people we would get along with in real life even when it might start as more business networking and education. But you can tell who you become fond of, get your humor, your viewpoints on biz etc and you tend to interact with them more whether on twitter or blogs and sometimes back to old skool email. trust me I have unfollowed plenty of people recommended by Ad Week or Advertising Forums because I realized they were nuts personally and in business LOL

I love that this all took place for you in my home town NYC where I was born and while I grew up on Long Island with the beach and boating I have spent so much time in NYC and I could picture the scene perfectly…except the Queens. NYC folks exclude Queens and Staten Island from the city LOL But I also know Hotel prices and trust me once my close friends moved out of Manhattan I get down less often now. wh

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Jk Allen June 4, 2011 at 12:32 am

Hey Marcus,

Props to you for mentioning Frank’s situation. Hopefully things are going okay for his daughter. His family has been in my prayers.

I hope your speaking engagement went well today? Man, today was a nice catch up day at home for me. Put all the suits, slacks and dress shirts down in the basement because in my new gig I can rock the jeans and Nikes (yes!)

When I got into this blogging thing I had no idea just how deep a friendship could be made online. I used to joke and poke fun of the idea of forming relationships online. Now that was more in the idea of dating, but I can say that overall my attitude has change. I’ve met people online that I’ve developed REAL friendships with. It’s pretty cool. I haven’t met anyone in person YET, but it’s only a matter of time at this point.

My life has changed a bunch because of my online friends. The support, ideas, and advisory has helped me beyond my blog, but in life in general.

Marlee killed it in her post. She really showed another notch facet of her talent on that post. And it was cool seeing all the pics (including the roar pic with you and her).

Well my friend – enjoy the weekend! I’ll be in touch.

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Jeans and Nikes?? SWEET!! Nothing better than that man. :-) I’m so excited to hear how this new gig goes for you my friend and you can be rest assured that I’ll be bugging you soon to find out.

Like you, my attitude towards online relationships has completely changed. Now that I can see their potential, I feel like I’m just getting started.

And I second your words about Marlee. That girl is so stinking smart it ain’t funny bro. That’s one thing I really learned from meeting her in person.

Talk to you soon bud,

Marcus

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Jack @ TheJackB June 4, 2011 at 4:17 am

Hi Marcus,

I don’t want to be redundant because most of what I would like to say has been said. But it bears repeating for those people who think that online relationships aren’t real.

The nature of these relationships is different in that many of us start out by learning private and more intimate details far more quickly than we might in real life. If we are really captivated and interested we might spend time going through the archives.

In short you can learn quite a bit about a person that might not otherwise come out. It is not even that you wouldn’t share some of this with your “real life” friends but the circumstances aren’t the same and opportunity doesn’t present itself.

So there is an exchange that takes place and when all you have are words sometimes you focus harder on what is being shared. There are no interruptions- no kids, waiters/waitresses, cellphones etc.

They don’t break up the conversation in the same way, so it changes the dynamic. These relationships are very real.

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Jack, many people have come on here to explain what heightens the dynamic of the virtual relationship, but I think you’ve nailed it the most of everyone. Like you said, with blogging, often times we can, in a very focused manner, learn within minutes their most telling life experiences, events, etc.

I hope you know how much I appreciate the value you bring to the table here Jack. You’re great.

Marcus

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker June 4, 2011 at 8:14 am

The friendships you are creating Marcus are real because of the care you put into nurturing each one. I get the sense you are the same Marcus offline as you are online – that’s why I’m happy to call you a friend.

Alex

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm

That’s way, way kind of you Alex. I really, really appreciate it man. Thank you so much.

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Frank Dickinson June 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Marcus,

Buddy I can’t tell you how much your mention here means to us here in the Dickinson household. When they talk about the best people in the blogosphere – you, my friend, are at the top of the list!

My Inbox has been flooded with well wishes from this amazing community. The thoughts, prayers and offers of help are simply the best thing possible when you are going through something like this.

The cool thing is, I have seen this happen over and over again throughout the interwebs. People rise up in support of their “virtual friends.” It is an amazing thing – and, from my perspective, a very good thing!

Thank you again Marcus – you are greatly appreciated.

And thank you TSL community – you guys have made our hearts smile.

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm

That just thrills me to no end Frank. We’re all behind you, and please let us know if you get any further news.

Best,

Marcus

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Jens P. Berget June 5, 2011 at 5:01 am

Hey Marcus,

It sounds like you are having a wonderful time, and that you are doing something you are really passionate about. I’m talking about connecting with people and helping out. No matter if it’s as a pool guy, or a content marketing expert. You are connecting with people and helping them.

Virtual friends are no longer just virutal. That’s what it seems like to me. I have never met any of the people I connect with online. I have watched Gary Vaynerchuck and Chris Brogan at a conference, but I didn’t talk to them, because I haven’t already created a relationship with them (I probably should have approached both, but I’m way too shy). If you would have been at the conference, I would have approached you. And I can’t wait until I actually meet one of you guys. There are so many things to talk about.

It’s very interesting that you turned your career completely around in just two years. It’s not just interesting, it’s amazing. I am hoping to do the same. I have written a novel in 8 months, and now one of the major publishing companies have approached me. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m excited :)

Jens

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Jens, you had a publishing company approach you??!!! WOWWWWWWWW! That’s sweet my friend, and I’m so very excited for you….and can’t wait to see how it goes.

Yes, I look at the change that has occurred during this two year time period and also think ‘wow’, but at the same rate I knew with a surety that if I just started blogging, and really hung with it long enough, and wrote valuable stuff–things would happen.

As to meeting in person Jens, I very much look forward or not. Shy or not, 5 minutes with me and we’ll be laughing and joking it up, I promise! ;-)

Keep us updated on the book my friend!

Marcus

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Trudy June 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

Reading your story reminds me of the few (but worth it) virtual friends I met in person! It truly was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade those friends for anything.

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm

So glad to hear that Trudy, and thanks for stopping by!

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Annie Andre June 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Hi Marcus,
YES YES YES I feel like my ‘virtual’ relationships can and will be as strong as my normal face to face relationships in my everyday life. I was so focused on work for the last 10 years that i lost day to day contact with many of face to face friends.

Miraculously, i’m finding that i have a stronger connection with the people i’m meeting online. I barely know most of the people i met but i want to get to know them more. It’s hard to articulate but you know what i mean.

And you are right, the investment in relationships IS the MOST rewarding things. Finding like minded people online to chat to, to support, to learn about over the past 3 months has been amazing. p.s. that picture of you and Marlee is crazy funny. Thanks for making me feel normal and not like some weird CYBER STALKER

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Hahaha Annie, so you liked the photo, huh? :-) Yeah, that’s my personality– the one that doesn’t come out as much on TSL because I’m usually sharing about more serious subjects but I love to laugh, and joke, and tease, and all that stuff– which is why you’ll have to make your way to the next big meet up/convention and we can all have a blast :-)

I’m so glad these last 3 months have been rewarding for you Annie, and that you’re enjoying the journey.

Continued success, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Marcus

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Harriet June 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Hello Marcus,

What you’ve written here was really nice to read. I truly believe that online friendships are just as loving as ‘real world’ friendships! I met some of my closest friends online and we meet up as a group once a year in the summer. Having online friends is really special to me as I know these people are only a call, text or facebook message away!

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Marcus Sheridan June 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm

An annual meet up Harriet? Hmm, now that sounds awesome! You’ve got me thinking now….as I’d love to start a tradition like that. :-)

Marcus

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John Sherry June 6, 2011 at 7:22 am

Online friendship has been a double coloured flower for me Marcus. First it’s connected me to decent folk who I know are that way because over time they keep on coming back, sharing, helping, giving, and supporting as well as inspiring me and supplying heaps of new info and insight (like you the big hearted Lion). Truly online what you put out you get matched right back. But, paradoxically, it’s also strengthened my closest real friendships and relationships in my physical life and world as it has reminded me how special they are and that love never goes away even if, perhaps, I have now and again. Blog on my good buddy and keep leading from the front as you do with help and heart as one.

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kloe June 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

the fact is sometimes, virtual friends are better than the real friends you see and hang around.

Online friends are eater to reach, they are basically always there for you..just a click away. Do you ever experience wanting to talk to your real friends when you are in trouble sometimes? Yet, they do not have the time?
Not surprising at all.
But go online, and everyone will be more than willing to talk to you…
that’s just the way it goes nowadays….

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Marcus Sheridan June 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Very good points Kloe. It’s amazing just how much online friends are willing to just jump right in.

Appreciate you stopping by and your kind words. :-)

Marcus

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kloe June 6, 2011 at 9:10 am

oh sorry ..i mean “Online friends are easier to reach,..not eater’” :)

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Faith June 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm

The value in connecting with like-minded people who also want to see you succeed is not necessarily commonplace. You seem to have created a strong, supportive community here and you pay it forward. It’s nice to see.

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Marcus Sheridan June 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm

That’s very kind of you Faith. Yes, there is a unique community here. The people are amazing. They care. They build others up. And I’m just grateful to be a part of it.

So glad you stopped by and hope to see you again Faith :-)

Marcus

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Kim Davies June 8, 2011 at 1:47 am

Hi, Marcus.

Reading this post has been very uplifting for me. It gives me hope and courage to really move on with my blogging journey and continue forging online relationships. It makes me feel that I am on the right track when I followed Bill’s advice on building my online community.

I understand fully about your being emotional over your goodbyes with Gini and John because it makes us see how genuine you are as a person and as a friend. I am also the same way when I am reading conversations in other people’s blogs, comments on my posts and even replies to my comments. In my case though, it is more smiles than tears (except with Danny’s post on suicide and Jodi’s Voice and Gini’s own story about being stalked). I hope I can make such great friendships such as yours online.

It was really nice stopping by. And, thanks for letting us in on your act of paying it forward. Sent a message and a tweet to Frank and I’m off to read Marlee’s article. :)

Enjoy the rest of your week.
Kim

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Marcus Sheridan June 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Hey Kim, so sorry I’ve been slow to respond to this, but thanks so much for the heartfelt comment. I’m thrilled for you now that you’ve started building your online community and I can assure you that this will only get better, if you’ll just hold the course and believe in your abilities to make it happen.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and continued success Kim,

Marcus

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elle June 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Your post can simply touch the lives of your readers (including me).
I have never really believed in virtual friends, I think they are as phony as the “real” friends. I am not that too in love with the word “friends”, online or in the real world though I do trust people who I feel and know deserves to be trusted. So, it’s just a matter of knowing who your real friends are and love them.

What makes me admire you,(besides you making me feel you are such a nice a person having to feel you care about your virtual friends) most of all is how you can completely become so successful in whatever you decide to do in life and how after all the success you have gone through and still experiencing still makes you as humble as you are.

I honestly, suddenly feel the HOPE and the PERSEVERANCE to go beyond.
Thanks for sharing this and keep it up.

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Football February 27, 2012 at 7:43 am

It was really nice stopping by. And, thanks for letting us in on your act of paying it forward. Sent a message and a tweet to Frank and I’m off to read Marlee’s article.

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Rebecca Livermore July 31, 2012 at 9:08 am

I’m glad you linked to this, Marcus, in today’s blog post. I do agree that we can form really great relationships with our online friends.

I’m thinking of one friend in particular (you know him well), who I’ve yet to meet in person. Sometimes I almost forget that we’ve never met, because it feels like we have, and other times I keenly feel a little pang in my heart, knowing that due to distance, there are certain things I don’t get to experience.

But the fact that there can be a bit of a pang in my heart with someone I’ve never met, is rather telling and indicates that real connection and affection can develop from a distance. In fact, I think that sometimes it can grow even stronger simply because we often take the time to really communicate with people online in a way that we often don’t with the people who live right in our neighborhood that we see on a regular basis.

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