A True Story of Online Friendship

When Alison stopped by our office and told us this story, we knew it was a great example of the power of online ties, and we’re very happy she agreed to write a guest post for us…

A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane for San Francisco to visit one of my dearest friends Elizabeth (@ElizabethPW). She had a sick little girl in the hospital to take care of, and as I would for any of my friends, I wanted to be there for her. I didn’t do anything special. I delivered coffee, kept them company, shared in collective stress, laughter, frustration, joy and fear. I gave as much space as I could, while keeping close enough to be on call. I stayed as long as I was able and then I went home.

An ordinary story of friendship.

What is special about my story is that a year ago I didn’t know Elizabeth and that since meeting we have only been in the same room a handful of times. Our entire friendship, from who introduced us, to how we met and have gotten to know one another, to how I was able to get on that plane, are all the result of the time we have spent connecting online.

I live online. I am one of those people who never leave their phone at home and who won’t buy a purse my laptop can’t fit in. I would recognize Pete Cashmore before LeBron James. I don’t rest, I unplug. So, in March of 2009, when I learned about Twitter and opened my account, it was just like one of the many other sites I belong to. Like everyone else who finds an online home there, it took some time to figure things out and find the people I was looking for. But I did, and it has been an amazing experience.

I found these amazing people by giving. I gave time, I was myself, I cared and I chatted. I got to know people. I built relationships online, that I never would have otherwise. I have tweeted almost 20,000 times, more than 75% of those are @ replies, which means they are conversations. If you find me on Twitter and say hi (which I hope you will), you will see me talking about parenting, business, music, and the day-to-day stuff that makes life great. People make fun of Twitter for the random stuff. Tweets about what you had for lunch or something your kid does. But I don’t buy that. Life is random stuff. Human stuff. We connect over the sequences and surprises that are life.

Because of Twitter I can go almost anywhere and know someone. I have a trusted resource to ask questions and get referrals. Because of Twitter, I count brilliant authors, business people, adventurers, academics and philanthropists as my friends. I found a community of parents and entrepreneurs – both wonderful, challenging and often isolating things to do – to share my journey. I met my very best friend and work buddy Scott (@unmarketing) through Twitter. Changed my life.

Because of Twitter, my business has access to thousands of opinions. A community made up of my customers, supporters and peers. A way to listen to what my market is saying about us (and our competition) and find out what they are looking for in new and existing products. I have the unique ability to answer questions, concerns and compliments with a personal reply that can be shared and seen exponentially.

Because of Twitter, I have met some of the most amazing and supportive people that I have ever known. And it is because of Twitter, that I was able to make that trip July 3rd to practice friendship, using a free ticket to San Francisco I was given by Klout and Virgin America. That is why I was able to hop on a plane to visit my “online” friend and be there for her in real life. And I am so truly grateful for it.

Real relationships can happen online. Great people are waiting. All you have to do is jump in, be yourself and say hi.

Read more about Elizabeth and Gracie.
Say hi to Alison on

Alison is a mother and owner of Nummies Nursing Bras. She is a writer, hot yoga addict, reluctant runner and passionate about making moms and moms-to-be feel beautiful. You can learn more about Alison by reading her
blog and check out Nummies stuff at www.nummies.com.