Skateboarders, I think are some crazy interesting people. These guys do not play it safe. Why would you want to skate down some stairs or railing? Let’s take the stairs – its constant small drops, and jerks while balancing on a piece of board or plastic on wheels. The rail is a cliff-hanger with a guaranteed drop and prayer for smooth landing, and that’s a lot of prayers to prevent an accident!
These guys know how to fall, and they are actually thinking about what they did wrong while falling. My first son Andrew expressed this, as we discussed his passion for that extreme sport – skateboarding, a few years ago.
Andrew was my personal assistant for five years. On one of our trips to the UK he met some folks from Blueprint Skateboards, and Paul Shier a great skateboarder at the time gave him a ticket to a premiere event they were having for skateboarders. Paul, he shared, was a regular guy with a huge reputation, and a big heart – in real life he was the same as his online image! Andrew connected with these people who he knew of virtually, getting high on engagement with this network of skateboarders, all strangers with one common interest!
His passion spurred him on to create his own entrepreneurial opportunities. He tried several different ways to make his hobby his career, even opening an online store for skateboard supplies locally; he kept trying to make it work, never giving up, despite the challenges. When he practices his skateboarding, he jumps and the friction created, by his speed and the angle of his feet, causes the board to fly with him – landing strong or falling flat. He gets up, and goes again, and again, his engagement with his audience his goal towards success!
What does engagement mean? According to Vocabulary.com “fully occupied or having full attention” or Cambridge Dictionary online states “an arrangement to do something or to be somewhere.” Engagement online, from my perspective means to connect with someone through an activity-like action, acknowledging their presence with a response.
Virtual relationships start with engaging with someone, most times never meeting in person. The way one perceives another is based on what is shared online. Writing, audio and video discussions enhance interactions based on participation. Everyone may speak English or their native tongue on your interface, and there are many cultural and social nuances which impact on reception and response. Online we are all equal on some level, until we are not, through our activity and actions/inaction.
There are a few key elements to engaging from my experiences;
1) Clearly share who you are and your interests, 2) Be respectful,and courteous when reaching out to comment or message 3) Its okay to be bold but not boarish 4) Respect ‘no’ or refusal to connect and move on 5) Respect boundaries 6) Be kind, understanding that we are all different, desiring to share a space for a purpose, career, business, personal expression and fulfillment! 7) Disagreements are a part of who we are but discord, judgement and disdain are toxic and must be avoided. 8) Our differences and diversity are good, and should be applauded and embraced.
To conclude, the way Andrew pursued his passion as a skateboarder, as a blogger I too take chances with my words and sometimes my posts do well and at other times fall flat. My experiences with blogging are similar to his, when I meet someone from my virtual world, its always a pleasant and inspiring experience. The pandemic makes it difficult to travel, but we can still engage, learning, adding and sharing value with each other. I hope this posts helps to answer some questions on engagement online, and its parallels skateboarding. Remember that your net worth online depends on your networking, connecting via engagements!
Enjoy your engaging experiences!
nb. This post has been adapted from ‘Engagement, Recurring Decimals & Skateboarding’ (DL Eversley, 2016)
If you’d like to discuss the above as it relates to your business or enterprise send me an email and will be happy to schedule a meeting!
Give Hope to all you meet and watch the world grow!