Hi! I have been wanting to document this story since Catriona Pollard and I started Social Media Women, so it seemed a great time to share it since we are asking you to share your story, here’s mine…
A couple of years ago, I found myself changing my business, Paper Magnolia, and working on a new business, Magnolia Solutions. I was a stationery wholesaler who was building her brand and working on customers businesses as any good wholesaler does. As much as I loved my products and my customers, I was feeling isolated from the world and not as fulfilled as I once did, I was not using my brain as much as I would have liked. I was also at the mercy of the fickle retail market.
As Magnolia Solutions grew, I was recommended to get into Twitter. My initial thought was, “No Way!!! I have a website, I have just gotten into this Facebook thing, I can’t possible do another thing…”. But as a marketer you have to keep up with what is going on and the tools at your disposal.
WELL! What I discovered was an amazing resource filled with amazing people (and lots of really not amazing people but I wanted to concentrate on the great things!) The think that impacted me the most was the true spirit of sharing and collaboration. The access to people that I would never normally have, and no I don’t mean Ashton Kutcher (for the record I don’t follow him). Initially I was just observing and learning.
By being a part of a few online communities who were connecting online but not in real life, I ‘met’ Frances Jones http://twitter.com/FrancieJones). Frances told me all about Tweet Ups and noticed that I had blogged about Gelatomassi as had Tony Hollingsworth (@hollingsworth). She kindly ‘introduced’ us and I started to watch Tony’s Tweets. Tony was tweeting about coffee mornings – now I love coffee (not so much a lover of mornings but hey!) so I investigated further!
Coffee Mornings are on in Surry Hills and in Mosman Northside Coffee Mornings (#nscm). As #nscm started later than Coffee Mornings they won it for me!! So I started watching the tweets and connecting with a couple of people. I was a little nervous turning up and checking it out but that feeling disappeared in minutes!! So I started going weekly and being part of a real online discussion and group on Twitter it was so great!! Instead of just re-tweeting I was contributing. I was also able to be part of discussions that I would not normally be part of. I even did a posterous post on my wonderful friends.
One of the people I admired in the group was Catriona Pollard, she was a canny savvy business woman with an appreciation of the important things in life. After a couple of chats I asked her if she would mind me discussing my new business and how I was setting up the services etc as I was new to all this and she had been doing it for 10 years. I am not normally so forward (until I know people a LOT better) and glad I was this time!
I quickly discovered that Catriona is EXACTLY the same person online as offline, she is genuine, giving, a true sharer of information and is an amazing collaborator. My experience is that a lot of people aren’t what they seem, so I was very pleasantly surprised!
After a short time we started meeting up and so began a great friendship. Catriona had been talking about starting a group for women in social media and then we decided to give it a go! I would not have gone on this great journey with anyone else, absolutely. Catriona and I have been having a blast and are thoroughly enjoying all that is coming our way! I am not sure that we eventually would not have met if it was not for Twitter, but we will never know!!
I have met so many great people who I now consider friends from this group and other communities.
So thank you Social Media for giving me a wonderful new friend!