How to build your online support system

Instagram lets people know who you are and the services you provide. I post pictures of my life with writing tips. It connected me to other writers, kept me in touch with my clients, and brought new clients to the writing consultancy group I created.

Services like Reddit, Cora, Slack and Discord provide semi-curated space covering a wide range of topics. Suitable to see if you can ask questions or search through past posts. Responses aren’t as instantaneous as real-time social media, but the answers you get are often accompanied by real-world experience from professionals or amateurs.

Another advantage of message boards is that they can create space for marginalized populations bound by common interests. People post on Reddit’s Trans or Coming Out board to share photos and funny stories or ask for serious advice. The Nomadic Travel Tribe Facebook group demands travelers and influencers of color and “to show the world that travel has no ethnic, gender, religious, economic or interest limitations.”

You don’t always know who’s posting, although many people use Burner accounts. Like everything else, do your research to make sure you find the information and if you feel like someone is trolling you, move on.

Sending private messages to small groups on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Slack & Discord is a great way to deepen relationships with people you meet online and you can trust.

I met Lola Akinmed and Lily Lebavit Girma through the online traveler network. When we realized we all wanted to write books, we created a WhatsApp group for daily accountability during National Novel Writing Month. Since the end of that month, we’ve been in touch, and every November we reconnect to write new books, just like this.

Ask for help and be generous

Yes, the online world can be a time. This is a great place to share your experiences with others and learn from their experiences.

When you provide your own advice and ideas to others, you connect. In addition to my writing group, I also got my first editing job and met my agent through Trevor Noah’s Mutual Love.

Not everyone cares what you say. It may sound bad, but it’s actually a blessing. Those who resonate with you and support your interests value your energy. You can ignore everyone else. And remember, never fight with people online. It is not worth the time or effort.

A study by the University of Rochester found that contacts make connections. Communicating with people in a friendly and weird way is a great way to get to know people before they approach you. So in your mailbox requesting your job application or advice, they already know your name. While it won’t seal the deal, it will make your email stand out.

Set clear boundaries

Boundaries are important online if you want to protect your time, your privacy and your mental strength.

Start by evaluating each interaction for how much value it adds to your life. The writing group I mentioned gave me feedback on a book proposal. Their input helped me create something that my agent liked enough to get me to sign as his client. Our weekly meetings encourage me to do something new through my writing. The benefits of our group are obvious to me and the other members, but that doesn’t mean that the way our group works will work for everyone.

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