Why E-Friends Rock (and a few that do)

The Panelists: Meredith, Amy, Michell, Rebecca, Megan, Alison, Erin

Blog Out Loud had its first east coast event last night, and I was in attendance. The panel consisted of a bunch of awesome ladies, and the hour-long discussion flew by. They touched on all the classic blogging and social media discussions – developing your voice, where to set your boundaries between your professional life and your online life, how to build a following, etc. but for me the most interesting and biggest take away (other than an awesome gift bag) was something I haven’t heard discussed before, but that really hit home.

The discussion about how to build your audience led to a conversation about online relationships. One of the panelists said that by making friendships online it allowed her to find friends based on common interests, people who she could form a real connection with, instead of just people who were geographically located nearby.

As someone who has formed a number of amazing relationships online through social networking and through blogging, I couldn’t agree with her more. And tomorrow I’ll be meeting one of my online buddies In Real Life (IRL) for the first time. Marian Schembari, the awesome lady that she is, has a meeting in the big apple. So after I get off work we’re grabbing coffee.

I’m super excited to meet her before she moves to London. If you haven’t read her blog and don’t follow her on twitter, you should, you’re missing out. Marian found a job in publishing by posting an ad on facebook; today, however, she freelances teaching authors and job-seekers how to use social media to make things happen.

Marian isn’t the only awesome person I’ve met online though – so I figured I’d call out a few others here and let you know you should totally check out what they’re up to.

Lindsey Donner and I met through Brazen Careerist. Then I applied to write for iGrad and she responded – of course she had read my work here and we already knew each other, so it was a done deal. She writes and works as an editor at iGrad, while also owning her own freelance writing biz. On her blog, Use Your Words, she writes about being a freelancer and shares tons of great advice. Naturally, she’s also on twitter, where she’ll post links to all sorts of great things (including the articles I write for her) and chats about what’s going on in her all-too-busy life.

Susan Johnson is another writer, based in Boston, where she hosts Media Bistro events. I’m pretty sure I “met” her through twitter (though we haven’t met IRL), but she also keeps a great blog about her adventures writing, reading and leading a creative life. She is a frequent contributor to Work Awesome and has written for a number of prestigious publications, including The Boston Globe.

Just one more, because I don’t want to overload you with the amazing people I’ve met without ever actually meeting….

Chris Rodell is our most recent Q&A – the first half of it went up this weekend past and the next half will be up soon. Chris has written for everything from the National Enquirer to Esquire; his blog, Eight Days to Amish, only talks about writing sometimes, and instead delves into all sorts of interesting things. He’s recently finished his novel for the 17th time, and is always up to chat. He’s also on twitter.

While this is far from the complete list, I hope at least one of these folks catches your fancy and that I’ve helped you make a connection… if there’s someone your following who is AWESOME feel free to leave their blog site or twitter handle in the comments & I’ll make sure to check them out!

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