Connecting More Offline in an Online World

Some of the links included in this article are from our sponsors. Read our Advertiser Disclosure.

Over the past couple of weeks, two of my favorite blogs were sold. There were various reason for their sale, but gaining back valuable time to dedicate to offline high priority items were a common goal for each site’s sales.

I can relate. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve moved to a once a week posting schedule here at Debt Discipline. It has been a fantastic move. Sure my overall numbers are down, and I haven’t produced any epic, earth moving posts with the additional free time, but my goal of connecting more in the real world is on track.

Blogging is a great outlet. You don’t need anyone’s approval other than your own to start a site. Its reach can be worldwide and often validated through readers comments and emails. It does, however, have a bit of an introvert feel to it. Similar to having all of your conversations via text or email. It can leave you wanting a bit more of a connection to the real world or real people.

That is one of the main reason I started volunteering my time and getting involved in my local community several years ago. I wanted to take what I was sharing and learned from my blog and other blogs to others offline, firsthand. One little step has grown into something larger, today.


The Snowball Effect

Many of us are familiar with the debt snowball technique for paying off debt. The processes named after a snowball rolling downhill and gaining momentum. Getting bigger and bigger as it goes.

Similarly, my volunteer path has picked up momentum, and gotten larger over the years like that snowball rolling downhill.

I initially started with joining a committee on my local school board with the goal of bringing financial literacy to our high school.

That goal slowly picked up momentum. I quickly realized parents of our students needed help too. I started to inquire at local libraries about speaking opportunities. Sharing my families debt story. The initial speaking engagement quickly turned into three or four.

Two years into the high school committee, I could see that the school district adopted change slowly. It’s part of their overall approval system. Others saw it too. Out of this, a local community coalition was born.

A coalition can sponsors event that a school district can not, and often react quicker. I immediately joined. The goal of the coalition is to unite the community to provide a safe environment and education opportunities.

As I start my fourth year of volunteering, my initial step of joining a committee has turned into much more. An approved K-12 financial literacy curriculum for our school district, several local speaking events that have reached people with over $1.4M in debt, and in October our coalition will be hosting an evening to discuss avoiding student debt.

The avoiding student loan debt will be open to both parents and students and held at a local library. We will be viewing the documentary, “Broke, Busted, and Disgusted” and have a few speakers as well.

I know I must sound like a bit of a broken record on this topic, but its clear help is still needed out there. If all the people still needing help were connecting and understanding all of the online information available, wouldn’t we see progress?


Just like those bloggers who sold their sites to find a better balance of their time, I believe those who continue to blog can find a better balance between online and offline initiatives.

How many times have you heard the phrase “like-minded people” being used as it relates to the personal finance community? Now take it a step further, think of that person who’s seeking knowledge, education, help. etc. on a topic and bumps into a like-minded community whose full of information to share.

I for one enjoy reading, but often learn better in a classroom setting, collaborating with others, or listening to lectures. Wide-scale changes in our education system will take time, but our volunteer efforts can have an impact immediately. Think of the old I tell two friends, and they tell two friends, etc. and before you know it the information spreads.

I encourage you to find some offline opportunities to spread your knowledge on the personal finance topic. Strike a balance between all the great information you share online, and take it directly to those in your community. Those in need will thank you.

23 thoughts on “Connecting More Offline in an Online World”

  1. Congratulations on striking such a great balance Brian. I totally agree that offline activities are just (if not more) important as hustling on the blog. While I’ve been reading you for some time now, it’s impressive to hear how effectively you’ve been able to snowball efforts in your community. Keep up the great work!

  2. Great post! I think once a week is a great plan and it’s what I plan on doing too when things slow down. Blogging can become a huge job if you are not careful. I may learn a lot by reading, but I put things into action after face to face discussion. We can’t dismiss the value of collaboration, feedback, and synergy. It’s the topic of an upcoming post of mine.

    • Thanks, Vicki. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I’m sure with your years of experience teaching and leading others, teamwork played a big part of your success.

  3. I always wonder how much they sold their blogs for. Anyone else curious? Anyway, I totally get. I haven’t written or done a video at all in August. I just was sitting on my butt too much and wasn’t feeling my best and realized I needed to…play! That’s right! Just plan and have just the normal responsibilities I needed to take care of. Yup, the blog gets sacrificed, but something has to give. I probably won’t ever sell mine though…but don’t hold me to that. I like knowing it’s aways a place I can come back to when the “season” is right, even if that only means posting once per month.

    • It certainly crossed my mind. I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from the blog, but I’m sure that meant other things were a higher priority. Hopefully, that means plenty of volleyball. πŸ™‚

  4. “I know I must sound like a bit of a broken record on this topic, but it’s clear help is still needed out there.” That’s a record that can’t play too often! Help is definitely still needed out there! You are seriously my hero when it comes to offline spreading of pf education. If every blogger did even a fraction of what you’re doing offline, it would make such a difference! I operate on a more humble scale than you, but a colleague recently said to me, “Most of us are trying to get out of debt now, you know. And the only reason is you.” That was really nice to hear! If that has been the result of me just talking about it with peers (and I wasn’t aware of it), imagine the result you are having as you talk in more public forums. Well done, Brian!

    • Thanks, Ruth. I hope others will follow my lead. I envy the environment you’ve created at your school. With so many teachers getting on board getting their personal finances in order, it can only trickle down in their teaching to their students.

  5. It’s great that you’ve made so much progress with your community! I’m still dragging my feet on setting up a talk at my local library. In part, this is due to some changes I’m planning for the blog. But the offline community aspect is still on my list! Keep playing that record and one of these days I’ll be ready to act on it.

  6. I love that you are taking your wisdom and experience offline!

    I know from a pure numbers perspective that taking summers off from my blog means zero growth, especially having just started it last fall – but there are only a handful of summer weekends here in MN and even less with my son home from college. I’d truly rather have the time in the sun and on the water with my loved ones than a readership.

  7. I’ve watched you grow with your community involvement over the last two years and you’ve come a long way. Well done!

    We’re not very connected to our community where we live — no excuses but part of that is due to not having kids. Perhaps when we resettle we’ll find like-minded people to mingle with and have an effect on those around us.

    • Thanks, Mrs.G. A move to the new location, might be a great fresh start to get involved locally and spread the grooviness all around. πŸ™‚

  8. I’ve recently been called “the girl who lives online” by one of my best friends. While I found the remark to be quit funny, I also see a trail of sad truth in it!

    The truth is, there’s always a way to connect and make a difference offline. Your community is lucky to have someone like you who has something valuable to give back πŸ™‚

  9. As great as blogging is…connecting with the offline world can make a much more lasting impact. I’m surprised to see the blogs being sold. I haven’t posted in awhile either. Blogging can be a lot of work. Work has been hectic and with small kids…it’s hard to find time since family is the priority

  10. I have been thinking about venturing into the libraries with a talk prepared. I would love to share my story and have done so in the past when we’ve led FPU in our home and at our church. I think sharing our story is a great way to connect with other people that are going through what we’ve been through and can be a great way to help encourage them to make the best decisions to move forward. There’s something to be said for that face to face interaction as well! Good for you for reaching out and getting involved!

    I’m looking to do something in my neighborhood as well!

Comments are closed.