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Continued: 'Friending' each other in real life

  • Article by: KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 18, 2014 - 1:16 PM

Still, she’s undeterred, and says she views meeting online friends a lot like online dating. You meet lots of people. Some relationships click, some don’t.

Safety is an important consideration, too, said Herold. Headlines trumpet the tragic results of meetings with online predators. That’s why Herold meets her online friends in a public place. She — and others — also use social networks to vet online friends in advance of meeting.

It’s that the online connection that helps jump-start offline friendships, social media butterflies say. By the time you meet in person, you’ve already learned about each other’s careers from LinkedIn or spent time live tweeting together about the latest episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Minneapolis/St. Paul, said it’s a bit like having social super powers.

“You’ve kind of skipped a bunch of those introductory steps and can dive right into a more quality conversation,” Roventine said.

Hundreds of people do that throughout the year at Social Media Breakfasts, monthly events for networking in person and learning about social media. In introductions, people often share their real names and Twitter handles.

“When you have a conversation with somebody and you’re introducing yourself and trying to make a good first impression, you want to connect with them,” he said. “Being able to compliment their latest Instagram photo is a pretty safe way to do that.”

If people are sharing on social media publicly, they want people to see it and react to it, Roventine said. Why not bring it up?

For Purmort, who moved back to Minneapolis from New York City in her late 20s, connecting via social media first was a way to break through the reserved Minnesota demeanor and make friends. Plus, social networks make it easy to see mutual friends who can help with introductions or vouch for someone.

It’s worked.

When her husband had a seizure a few weeks ago, a Twitter friend jumped in to help during his recovery.

“She made a hot dish and dropped it off at our house,” Purmort said. “It was the least weird thing ever.”


Katie Humphrey • 612-673-4758

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