Any time you’re meeting an online contact offline, remember safety first. Meet in a public place and review a person’s online profile (i.e. LinkedIn profile, Google search results, etc) prior to meeting in person. Often, I arrange to meet online contacts at a conference or an event that we’re both attending. I’ve also had coffee meetings turn into great friendships. For example, I met LeBaron Meyers, an executive from Urban Daddy, on Twitter. She asked me to coffee to discuss marketing and we’ve been close friends ever since. I also meet Guy Kawasaki on Twitter. He used to frequently Tweet about his Virgin America experiences and I would respond. Eventually, I saw him at an event and I introduced myself. We’ve been friends ever since and he wrote the foreword to my book. I also met Susan McPherson, an SVP at Fenton, online. When I was in NYC, I invited her to a gathering a women friends and cemented our connection in a group setting. So my advice is, proceed with caution, but know that great relationships and collaborations can be formed from online connections.
By Gale Porter, Author of “Your Network is Your Networth”