There are many advantages of making Virtual Friends if you are a Travel Blogger, or for that matter, if you do any work online. If you have chosen to be a blogger as your profession – and it should be treated as a business from the start – then having a support network around you is imperative.

I am going to interview myself here and answer my questions because that is virtually possible to do…and probably sad also.

Paula: What is a Virtual Friend?

A virtual friend is a person you only know online. For travel bloggers, you interact with those virtual friends through your website as your readers and your peers, and more often than not through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the business platform of Linkedin. I have highlighted these so that you can become my virtual friends too. (smiley face). We also have many virtual business friends who we have worked with and continue to maintain this professional relationship with online.


Paula: What are the Advantages of having Virtual Friends

When you are a travel blogger, you work online all of the time. You need to be able to talk with people in a similar situation who understand your job. You need to be supported by virtual friends when you are on the road gathering material for your lovely readers, and your social media audience.

Generally, all of our business dealings occur online. This means that we have not only virtual friends but also virtual business partners. This is where the magic happens for Contented Traveller – establishing meaningful relationships with either prospective or existing partners online.

Paula: Why Don’t your Real friends Understand your Job?

Our real friends hate us because they think that we are constantly on holidays and that these articles magically write themselves and promote themselves on social media.

Ok, our real friends don’t hate us, but they also do not understand that travel blogging is not nearly as glamorous as it appears. Yes, we love our job and yes we work hard, and yes we do have fun, and this is where virtual friends are appreciated. The virtual friends that we have are travel bloggers, food bloggers, writers, vloggers (telling their travel tales through video) Instagram influencers, photographers, etc. Our virtual friends ‘get it’ that we are on the road gathering information to share with our readers, and that we work ridiculously long hours and they ‘get it’ that we need to support one another.

Read about what it is like to go on a Media Familiarisation trips that we have take this year.

Paula: How do your Virtual Friends aid in your professional development.

The biggest advantage to virtual friends is that we are professionally developing all of the time. Some people know things and share, or we might know something and share, and therefore we can all help one another; because at the end of the day, no one knows everything.

Paula: Are there any differences that you need to be aware of with your virtual friends?

Paula, I am glad that you asked this deep and meaningful question.

We interact daily with people from all different age groups and very different cultural backgrounds. This is where blogging is one of those dynamic professions. How many jobs are there where you are talking to people from all over the world on a daily basis, and from all different age brackets? Not only that – but virtual friends come from very diverse backgrounds. We chat to people of different religions, different beliefs, and differing perspectives on the world.

What could be better professional development than understanding cultural similarities and differences through continued virtual dialogues?

Paula: How do you maintain business relationships virtually?

Having virtual friends has helped us to deal with virtual business partners. It helps that I am really nice, super polite and am a suck up as well. This gives us a much better understanding of how to talk with them, and protocols that need to be observed. Living in this cyber buy cialis black 800mg world has been an absorbing yet steep learning curve. Each culture and each business have their nuances, and being able to respect these has certainly been a critical factor in our success.

Paula: Do you have a lovey dovey relationship with your virtual friends?

Hell no. Some people are just mean and take what they can get, and give little to nothing in return. Others are cyber bullies. They belittle others and are supercilious about their successes. They make it an ‘us and them’ mentality, which is typical schoolyard bullying. You might like to read an article I wrote for She Knows, entitled Adults Need to Say No to Cyberbullying First – Before you can Teach your Kids to say NO.

Some people are ruthless in the growth of their businesses, and take and take. While we all are striving to grow our businesses and are not about to hand over all trade secrets, it doesn’t hurt to help others out along the way. It’s all about karma. “People who create their own karma deserve their own karma” – I read that somewhere. Alternatively – they will get to the top and do really well. Shit happens. What it does teach me, however, is that I never want to act or be perceived like this. Very luckily these are the minority.

However, I do have many people who I value their virtual friendship. I know that I can rely on them for honesty, feedback, and assistance, and I like to think that they feel the same about me.

One of my virtual friends wants to be like me when she grows up, but I warned her that this was a dangerous path to tread.

Paula: Do you have a lovey dovey relationship with your virtual BUSINESS partners?

In all honesty, I would say yes. There are reasons we work with companies, and they work with us, and it is based on mutual respect. If we give a very good ROI, as we always aim to, then they want to work with us again or recommend us to business colleagues. We like to maintain the virtual dialogue on social media platforms, because, in many cases, we just ended up really liking the people and their businesses, and then they become virtual friends, who we happened to have met in real life. This has been an enormous part of our development.

Paula: Have you met any of your virtual friends in real life?

Well yes, we have. I had made a connection with a virtual travel writer years ago, and Gordon and I organized to meet him in a country where we were both traveling. I am politic in not saying where. He was a total wanker. Since then I have met so many more of my virtual friends, and most of them are just as pleasant in real life as they are online. Others have been the polar opposite. Interesting that being virtual affords some protection barrier. Just putting it out there.

Paula: Are your virtual friends just fake friends?

I don’t believe so. I like and need to communicate with them professionally, and I do enjoy the virtual interaction socially. I like that they are helpful, funny, sometimes argumentative but always a source of support for me.

Final words Paula?

Like derrrr….

I do have real friends to be honest. You know those one’s that you have dinner with, and try not to mention that you have been on yet another business trip. I also happen to live in a cyber world, and this is where I do value my virtual friends…because they get what we are trying to do, as professional travel bloggers.

If you want to have hundreds of virtual friends from all over the world, and no real ones, then read about, How To Start A Travel Blog: A Step By Step Guide


Weekend Travel Inspiration

Link to the blue button below and add your weekend inspiration post, whether it is travel, food, or anything that inspires you this weekend.

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This is our video of how we went exploring Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia. We were privileged to have this opportunity.

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