When @MiniPeg ( my daughter Michelle) was growing up one of her favorite books was Orlando’s Little-While Friends. As we moved from Dallas to Indianapolis, the simple premise of being open to making new friends wherever you are helped ease the transition.

I stumbled across a copy of the book recently, and I realized the author’s advice made equally good sense to people just beginning their journey into the world of Twitter. As Orlando’s family sets out in their super-shiny-travel-anywhere van he is afraid he won’t find anyone to play with along the way.  With encouragement from his parents, he discovers it is pretty easy to make “little-while” friends if you just say hello.

The same is true for social media. Watching the public stream on Twitter or discussion groups on sites like Smaller Indiana is a lot like sitting on a bench at a playground. Be like Orlando, jump in, say hello, make a new friend.  Add a comment, or simply respond to a post by someone you want to get to know.  You will be surprised how siimple it is to make the connection.

Orlando’s story ends as he returns home and discovers that one of his little-while friends has moved in next door.  The lesson is simple – don’t leave the conversations on Twitter.  Look for ways to connect off line as well.  Attend meet ups or create your own by setting coffee dates with people you would like to get to know better.  If you are part of the Indianapolis Social Media community drop by Hubbard and Craven any week day. You are sure to see a few of your little-while friends.

After almost four years of activity on social media, I have made hundreds, of little-while friends, and more then a few have become long time friends too!

social media friends