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Using the internet to meet more people

One of the concerns that people have about the internet is that it’s creating less face-to-face communication. That may be true, but my experience has been the opposite. Here are three quick examples:

The social minister

A number of years ago when I worked at Mt. Bethel, one of the ministers on staff at the time decided to “friend” everyone in the church on Facebook. Some declined his invitation, but a couple thousand accepted.  He quickly found that he was spending a lot of time on there, but two other things happened:

  1. His email inbox got a bit lighter, as people could reach out to him directly on Facebook.
  2. He knew a lot more about people when he saw them on Sunday mornings.  Instead of just “Good morning, Sally”, it became “Good morning, Sally.  How is your mother doing?”.  It made a huge difference and greatly enhanced his face-to-face relationships with the congregation.


We’re big fans of local Meetups. It’s not only a great way to learn about a topic that you’re interested in, but you’ll meet lots of people with similar interests as yours.  We host our own monthly Meetup and attend a variety of others. Off the top of my head, I’m sure I would have never met Kathy, Brad, Jason, Tom, Miller, Diana, Will, Renee or dozens of others (including our own Chantelle) if it hadn’t been for local Meetups.

I strongly encourage you to head over to the main Meetup site and search for interesting groups in your area.

neighborhoodOur Neighborhood

A few years ago there was a major snowstorm here in Atlanta and our schools (and roads) were closed for a solid week.  Because we gotten to know our neighbors via Facebook, we organized activities and meals to help keep everyone from getting bored.

Without Facebook, we likely would have toughed it out on our own rather than come together as a community.

Don’t Hide

In all three cases above, I attribute social media to creating significant enhancements in our face-to-face communication.  There are certainly people that hide behind the computer instead of going out into the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your online social networks to improve your offline social networks.

Going further, Lifehacker recently posted an article that offers even more tips on using the web to meet people in your area.

What ways have you used the internet to enhance your local relationships?

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Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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  1. The social minister is fascinating. I wonder how much that could extend ministry. Think about the country preacher who traveled for miles and miles on dirt roads to pray for members now able to reach people remotely. Not sure if it would be too impersonal to work.

  2. Mickey, I LOVED this and have found everything you listed to be very accurate for ministry and for business. The key to social media, teams and groups is to block your time for it like everything else. Another blog of yours that I will be sharing.

  3. What great perspectives on how the internet can be used to make and grow personal relationships. I live in a really large neighborhood and with everyone’s busy lives, it is often from FB that I actually know how they celebrated birthdays, holidays and vacations. And the meetup is a great cross section of internet and personal relationships.

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