How can I make online industry connections that feel as genuine as IRL ones? 🤔

Hi Elpha friends! ✨

I'm realizing my network is falling short of where I'd like it to be.

I would love to hear more from and learn more about the successes of others in my industry and the places they love working, the subsets of design that they're enjoying, etc. I work at a corporation and have made great connections in-house, but I haven't had the chance to meet poeple working in UX/UI/Product at other places. Most of my old college classmates have stuck to traditional graphic design, so while I love seeing their work and career moves, they don't quite feel as relevant to the paths I'm trying to walk. However, I realize it's often so much easier to build a connection with someone face to face than digitally.

Essentially, I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on how to meet people and make genuine online connections through platforms like Elpha and LinkedIn since that's something I've never really done. It's also my way of saying hi and that I'd love to connect with any of you who have an interest. Thanks for any help and advice you can offer!

Finding tailored Slack channels regarding UX/UI. The 'finding' is the hard part 🤔 I found a lot of mine through newsletters that focus on individual groups in tech (Black, LGBTQ, etc) I find in a 'professional' space, people are not genuinely themselves, but a curated 'professional' version. If you're prepared for that, LinkedIn would be a help for you, but I prefer where people aren't standing on ceremony to put forth an image of themselves. Twitter can also help.
Thank you, that's a great idea! I've joined general slack channels in the past, but I bet finding one based on more specific criteria would be a better way to find common ground faster. And good point regarding LinkedIn as well, I hadn't thought about that!
This was going to be my suggestion as well! I have found some great online communities in my space (Talent Acquisition) and I've gotten to know some folks really well. It really helped me feel connected, and find "my people" :) Here is a list of online communities for designers: looks like there are quite a few slack groups
I agree that finding the right Slack/Discord channel(s) can be really great. There are SO many communities out there, but they are not all going to be a good fit, so it takes some time to figure out which ones are the best for your time & energy. But I have found a few that are really great for me and I feel like I'm making some good connections.
One trick you can use to to find people that live in your area so that you have a location (so it feels closer to home, in case people have interest in creating new friendships or getting together in person) and a professional interest in common. Then you can find out what the people are into, other interests, by asking questions like ' What prompted you to get into UX/UI' or 'What do you enjoy most about this work'. You can stay in touch by sending interesting links that are not necessarily UX/UI related but design focused or something beautiful, which can spark more conversations that feel natural.
Hi Haley! I find it's helpful to meet to learn about each other, & then maintain semi-regular contact about both work & non-work things. Connecting on LinkedIn makes this all a bit easier too, but it still takes intentional effort & participation from everyone involved. Adding you on LinkedIn, would love to connect if you'd like to chat more!
I have a list of people who I have supported on LinkedIn and they have supported me. Amplifying each other's posts, commenting. The list keeps growing. Once we've built a little of a rapport, I set up a 15 to 30 minute get to know you chat.