Being an ally can take many forms online. One of the roles of an ally is to ensure that abusers and bullies are held accountable for their behavior. If you see someone threatening or harrassing one of your connections, report the post immediately and let the victim of the abuse know you’ve done so. You don’t have to confront a bully directly, though doing so can be a powerful display of solidarity. Remember, it is incumbent upon allies to use our privilege in support of others.
I’ll admit that most of my professional connections reside in the United States. But I also spend some time intentionally connecting with people in other countries and on other continents. This allows me to see what assumptions I might be making from within my own cultural frame of reference. It also exposes me to completely different ways of thinking. As you expand your reach, don’t be afraid of crossing national borders or even language barriers. There are plenty of free, online translation services to help you build foreign connections.
Whenever you attend an online meeting, conference, or event, see if the organizers have enabled the chat feature for the audience. If so, be sure to leave some encouraging comments that move the discussion forward. Then, near the end of the session, invite other attendees to connect with you by leaving a clickable link to your social media profile.
Organizers of online conferences and virtual meetups often post information about speakers and attendees in advance. Try connecting with these people in advance on social media. Ask what they’re hoping to take away from the event or if there’s someone they’re hoping to meet there. By starting a conversation in advance, people will seek you out as a “familiar face” when the event goes live.