There are almost eight billion of us on this planet, ten thousand likely very similar to yourself. The Internet is a typical person’s best hope for finding and connecting with them.

Mount Sanitas Summit west, Boulder, CO

I enjoy life in large part thanks to friends I made on the internet. These friendships have led to jobs, romantic adventures, stays in dreamy oceanside villas, global hackathons, and countless transformative and wonderful experiences. I want to pass on what I can only describe as a cheat code to life – using the internet to find like-minded, curious people and becoming friends with them.

A condensed list of advice for using twitter, and to various degrees the other platforms:

  • follow people you resonate with. This is anyone doing things in the world aligned with the world you’d like to see. Start with searching up your favorite podcast hosts (and guests!), authors, YouTubers, artists, event hosts, comedians, professors, and journalists.

    • Though these accounts are likely not going to be the people you’ll be lunching with right away, the people responding to them just might be.
  • engage with bigger accounts, support smaller accounts. A reply to a tweet with 2,000 other replies probably isn’t going to get noticed. But a thoughtful question amongst 5-20 other responses probably will be, especially if it’s someone you regularly interact with.

  • ask questions, offer suggestions, share learnings. Be yourself! Share the things that excite you the most. Post things you are confused by, and answer them if you figure it out. There is no right or wrong here, so follow your curiosity and be open.

  • pay attention to who keeps popping up. One of my good friends and I met when we kept liking each other’s responses to tweets by people we mutually followed. Eventually we clicked on each other’s profiles, liked what we saw, scheduled a chat, and became friends.

  • use the algorithms to your advantage. Think of recommended accounts as neighbors in a large, unexplored field. It helps to meet them! Each account might lead to several more, so follow the rabbit holes.

  • attend virtual events. participate! Online gatherings cast a wide net for who can join and offer interesting forms for expressing yourself (live video, screen sharing, chat, mood boards). I find the ideal size to be 10-30 people, and recurring meetings are best for building trust and the space to go deep on ideas.

  • attend offline events! Be adventerous Meeting in-person is harder but increases the intimacy and richness of communication. Combine an offline meetup with a walk through a park or a museum for maximum serendipity.

  • send that dm / email / offer to connect. Sure, some won’t get replies. Some might even react negatively. But the vast majority of people on the internet respond kindly to someone showing genuine interest. The more specific you can be, the better. Something like:

    • "Hey {name}, I've enjoyed following your account for a few months and found {specific post / general idea} particularly interesting. I'd love to chat further sometime about {specific question / idea / topic} - let me know if you're interested and have some time soon!"
  • if they don’t respond, try again in a few months. Don’t take it personally – people are busy! Life is crazy. Just make a reminder on your calendar a few months away and try again then.

  • put your thoughts out there. This can be scary, so start small! They can be in any format: written words, videos, recorded voice, pictures of paintings, or lists of urls. The more you share your authentic brain, the more other brains have a chance of connecting with you.

other reflections #

  • Don’t move in together with someone you met online before a trial run or getting to know them very well. Especially in a foreign country.
  • A couple hours hanging out together might be equivalent to months of liking each others’ tweets in terms of information exchanged, but the latter might only be possible with the former.
  • Some people aren’t comfortable with video calls, and not everyone has the internet for them. Get creative! Start a voice chat instead along with a Figma or Miro board and create a map of your conversation as you talk. Or start an email thread! Or keep it to DMs until you feel the time is right.
  • make introductions and schedule group chats! If you feel you and a few people have been independently circling around a topic or idea, offer to connect them and make it a group chat or call. The more people present, the deepe more potential for serendipity and magic.

my path from lurker to tourist to internet native #

I’ve been on the internet since I was 14 (11 years ago). The first 7 years were spent a capital-L lurker: part of the vast 90% who merely scrolls without engaging beyond a like or upvote. My early days were spent playing Club Penguin, reading Reddit (mostly gaming and religious subreddits),, engadget, deviantart, gizmodo, and lifehacker. I watched YouTubers play video games, scrolled 9gag for memes, and read wikipedia articles. This is a fun place to be, but it’s hard to translate these into offline connections.

After moving to New York at 20, I began using the internet to meet people — but in the safe, walled-garden-app approach. I signed up for Hinge and Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel and went on dates. I scoured, Sonder, Facebook events, and The Skint to find events to attend. I stumbled on HeyGreet, an app to schedule dinners with random strangers across the city. But I was still using the internet as a tourist — someone without a space to call their own and merely visiting the spaces of much larger, more established brands and companies.

Sometime in 2019 I stumbled on Alexey Guzey’s Why You Should Start a Blog Right Now post as well as Why (and How) You Should Join Twitter Right Now. These two posts corrected my inaccurate perceptions of blogging and twitter, so I created my Twitter account and published my first post. This was where I went from internet tourist to internet native: I now had a living room of my own that people could stumble on, get to know me, and reach out if they were interested – without being beholden to a service that could this away.

Things took a drastic shift in January 2020 when I saw this tweet and attended the meetup in San Francisco with 4 others. Stian simply invited anyone interested to discuss Roam Research (a note-taking app), reading/note-taking techniques, other tools, etc. I went in knowing nobody but I walked back to my car electrified: in awe of the serendipity by which this event came together, the sheer depth of overlap with everyone else there, and excited for possibilities of future events and collaborations.

A month later I hosted my own similar meetup in NYC. Another month after that, covid shut the world down. But I was determined. I was soon hosting a weekly blog club on Zoom, writing blog posts and sharing them on Hacker News, and brainstorming for an online hackathon. To put it simply: I’ve found many people through twitter, and many people have found me through my blog. They work in tandem, and I believe having both is maximally effective for finding people online.

I hope to help more people experience this magic in their lives.

further reading