Growing up in the South, I was taught that introductions are an important social interaction and skill.  There’s even a formula for the proper introduction: state your name, throw in some social niceties, explain how you happen to be there chatting with them, connect your interests and goals with theirs’, make tentative future plans and finally end with a nice firm handshake.  Well, that’s all fine and Yankee Doodle Dandy, but no one ever taught me how to make a good introduction into a new (to me) online community.  Does a new media introduction still conform to these socially created standards?  Only one way to find out!

State your name: “Hi, I’m Laura.”

Seems to be going okay so far….

Throw in some social niceties: “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”  “What an adorable baby!”  “Some weather we’ve been having recently, isn’t it?”

Really? I brought up the weather to an online global audience? Let’s keep going, maybe they won’t notice…

Explain how you happen to be here: “I am fortunate to get the chance to combine forces with JoAnn Jordan and hang out on her blog for the next little bit.  If you’re interested in music therapy, health, wellness, caregiving or any other related topic, it’s likely I’ll be stopping by to visit your blog, too.  You’ll probably also see me lurking around twitter (@LauraCrum1) and the MusicSparks Facebook page. “

Great, I said lurking.  Now they think I’m creepy.  Okay, don’t panic, just get back on track….

Connect your interests and goals to theirs’: “While I am not a music therapist, I am a music lover.  I am lucky enough to have grown up in a musical household and to have witnessed firsthand the way music can create an interpersonal connection between individuals and deepen intrapersonal understanding.  More than that, I believe in wellness, harmony with ourselves and others, and personal growth, all of which are some of the intentions of music therapy.  I also believe that through social media, we can discover and draw connections that might otherwise have passed us by.”

Alright, that was mostly coherent! Maybe they’ve forgotten about the lurking awkwardness…

Make future plans: “Over the next several weeks, I will be looking around, learning more about the online music therapy group and related communities.  I want to hear your perspectives, learn from your experience and have the opportunity to share ideas back and forth.”

That’s it, girl, almost there!  Just one more step!

End with a firm handshake:  …?

Okay, so the old standard doesn’t fit seamlessly into new media (maybe a virtual high-five would have been better than the standard handshake?) but the intent is there and I am sincerely pleased to make your acquaintance!

What’s your favorite way to connect with others online? Do you prefer Twitter over Facebook?  Are there any topics or ideas that you would like to see brought up for discussion?


~Laura, Guest Blogger

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