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?
- 1 Paula: What is a Virtual Friend?
- 2 Paula: What are the Advantages of having Virtual Friends
- 3 Paula: Why Don’t your Real friends Understand your Job?
- 4 Paula: How do your Virtual Friends aid in your professional development.
- 5 Paula: Are there any differences that you need to be aware of with your virtual friends?
- 6 Paula: How do you maintain business relationships virtually?
- 7 Paula: Do you have a lovey dovey relationship with your virtual friends?
- 8 Paula: Do you have a lovey dovey relationship with your virtual BUSINESS partners?
- 9 Paula: Have you met any of your virtual friends in real life?
- 10 Paula: Are your virtual friends just fake friends?
- 11 Final words Paula?
- 12 Weekend Travel Inspiration
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?
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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You ARE really nice Paula – online and in real life! I’m so glad I met you in Melbourne earlier this year, and grateful for the tips you have given me. Still waiting to hear any news on my latest pitch – will let you know once I do!
That is so lovely, and I can easily return the compliment. Good luck with the pitch, I think it is a very good concept.
Excelent post, haven’t come across anything like this one before. Great work and an interesting read.
Thank you. It was a novel way to do it.
I so undertand you – I also got some virtual friends, but there is really nothing like meeting and going for coffee. I appreciate your insights, nowadays it’s too many communication channels for people to just meet and chat:)
True, it can be easy to just stay as virtual friends, but there is merit in meeting some in real life.
Note to self: Interview yourself. Another note to self: Try to do something interesting enough about which to interview yourself. When I stopped full time lawyering and started writing legal briefs from home (or from wherever), it was kind of isolating. I can easily get myself into an introvert mode, so this wasn’t a great thing. At least I had a 6 month old dog to keep me company and to force me to at least go outside to walk around the block. In 2012ish, our wandering second born suggested I start a travel blog, “Mom you like to travel and you like to write, this would be perfect for you.” What I didn’t know to expect was how supportive and helpful other travel bloggers (especially of the Boomer variety) would be. Many of them became virtual friends and I’ve had the chance to meet some IRL. So far, no wankers. (We don’t actually use that word in the US, so I don’t know if it’s something one isn’t supposed to say in polite company. I’m not even positive about the definition of “wanker”, but it sounds like a bad thing to be. (I know I could google it, but then I might feel like I have to rewrite this comment—so wanker stays.) (I’m sorry to be missing everybody at TBEX Stockholm—so many virtual friends, so little time.;-)
I love this comment Suzanne, and what you said is so true. It is a way to meet people from all walks of life, and all points of view. Wanker is not a nice term at all. It is not one you should use again. I own the fact that I am a bad influence. When we meet IRL, I won’t use it. Promise.
Love how creative you are! I will refer my pals who think I’m on vacation all the time to this often. They don’t realize the work, the hours and isolation. Still I’m grateful and will keep going and going and going.
I agree, our friends think we are on permanent vacation, and while we love it, there does happen to be a lot of work involved.
Haha I really enjoyed reading this post! It’s good to interview yourself to see how you look at yourself. Anyway I really enjoy having virtual friends since they are so much supportive and understanding plus its also great to be able to spread Deaf awareness. Its hard when my “real” friends doesn’t understand how much work goes into the blog. Its still nice to learn about different stories, cultures and personal journey from other bloggers.
I agree, what other jobs allow you to mix with people from all over the world on a daily basis. It really is one of the best parts of the job.
Ever since I started my travels, I find that it is my online friends that I can connect to the more especially because my friends back at home or even the locals that I meet in my travels don’t really understand much of what I’m doing or going through — my online friends on the other hand (bloggers) know more of it since we lead the same life. Apart from this, it’s really just great to have virtual friends!
Agreed Aileen. It is so good to connect with people in the industry, who get it.
Fun interview, lol! 🙂 I totally agree, having virtual friends and colleagues is so beneficial in the blogging world! It’s nice to interact with people who understand what you do since most real life friends don’t seem to quite get it. It is interesting to see differences in people when you interact online vs meeting them in person!! But thankfully, we’ve found most people to be great and it’s nice to have friends all over the world!
Agreed, it really is an unusual profession. I used to be a teacher and all I heard was you get so many holidays. Now, I am a travel writer and all I hear is, you get so many holidays. Looks like I chose wisely in both of my careers.
I totally agree with this post about the virtual relationships we make online. I have some great friends that I want to visit with and other I doubt I will ever meet in person.
Me too. There are many people I am looking fwd to meeting in real life.
Haha I love that you interviewed yourself! On a more real note, some of my best friends I “met” online. Some I have since met face to face, but many continue to be a part of my life through our virtual worlds. Great post!
Thanks Carly. We are starting to meet more and more people in real life, and expect to meet lots at TBex Philippines.
Great post, haven’t come across anything like this one before. Great work and an interesting read.
So true, glad we have this online tribe! It’s (usually!) really fun to meet them in real life too!
I agree, having online forums helps a lot, and meet in real life can be interesting.
Virtual friends are amazing!I’ve been able to come across opportunities that I would never have had thanks to people I met online, I am all for making friends online.
Agreed. We have learnt many different things, and also become aware of many opportunities. Virtual friends are a necessity in this business.
I have loved making virtual friends in the travel blogging world. I’ve even gotten to meet some in person. Thanks for sharing.
I love the aspect that I never know who I will be interacting with on a daily basis, and they can be anywhere in the world, and from any age group, and culture.
I love your last please of advice just before ‘How to start a travel blog ..’. I would like to think that I am counted amongst your virtual friends and since we have plans to meet up soon (along with a whole lot of other travel bloggers) then I might just graduate to being a ‘real’ friend – or maybe not. Maybe I’ll be really boring in the flesh – haha!
I am looking fwd to meeting you in ‘real’ life, and doubt very much that you will be boring. Maybe I am.
I love everything about this post. What a fun idea to interview yourself, and brilliant compliments to the interviewer. I could so relate with real friends not understanding that we are not alway on vacation. In a country laden with tall poppy syndrome, that impression often makes my life more difficult. FYI – I consider you a friend, hope to meet you some day, and really hope not end up on your wanker list 🙂
You are so nice Rhonda, and I do feel as if we know one another. The tall poppy syndrome is so rife, particularly in the Antipodes.We need to support one another.