The #WeMetOnTheNet Campaign Celebrates Connections People Made Online

"Meeting online nowadays is one of the main ways to engage socially and share the experiences and inspirations."

Often there's stigma associated with meeting people online. You see it every time you ask someone who met a significant other on a dating app. They say the word "Tinder" but what their tone says is "don't judge me."

There are a few reasons for this. For one, it's not the romantic, spontaneous story we've grown accustomed to seeing on the big screen. No beers were spilled at a bar, no eyes were caught across a cafe, and no fortuitous seating arrangements were made. Instead of a meet-cute, they got exactly what they signed up for. For another, there's sometimes an air of falsehood attached as people frequently lie online — on their profile, with their image, and about their personalities. But meeting someone online is more common now than ever, and there's nothing to be ashamed of. 

Visumate, a Berlin-based digital marketing agency, started the #WeMetOnTheNet social media campaign in an effort to de-stigmatize meeting a friend or significant other online. They asked people to share a photo of someone they met online using the hashtag, along with a caption explaining how they took their relationship from social media to in-person hangouts. 

"Endless discussions about dating online, having the relationship based on online platforms and communication brought Visumate the idea to start a completely non-commercial social media campaign which celebrates the synergy between online and offline relationships," Gintare Adomaityte, a public relations manager at Visumate, told A Plus. "Visumate was inspired by Berlin's social media network culture: meeting online and bringing the connection to offline and keeping the contact in real time. The campaign revealed that meeting online nowadays is one of the main ways to engage socially and share the experiences and inspirations." 


Adomaityte notes there are also many advantages to making strictly plutonic connections online as people connect through shared interests on sites like Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube. In fact, many of the #WeMetOnTheNet submissions showcase friendships, not romantic relationships, that started on such platforms. 

"Living in a big city might limit the possibilities to meet the people in the real time: long working hours, stress, distance and changing communication habits," she said. "Meeting online removes all the borders in terms of timing, place and personal features. Individuals have a chance to match with people who have the same interests, lifestyle, hobbies and live in another continent without traveling. It plays together with personal features, courage and self-confidence." 

Whether they met on Instagram, Tinder, or another online platform, this campaign highlights that the "how we met" story isn't what actually matters. What's most important is that people were able to develop friendships, meet romantic partners, and make connections. 

You can read some of the #WeMetOnTheNet submissions below:

1. Thai and Elly

Courtesy of visumate

"Elly (@_e_l_l_y_) contacted me for an article in a Bulgarian online magazine which suggested some Instagrammers from Berlin. Since then we stayed in touch online. She was visiting Berlin this May to exhibit her work in an open air gallery. There we finally saw each other in person and agreed on a walk through the city. This photo was taken during that very first walk of ours. Elly had always wanted to go to that spot, so she was really glad that I took her there. I was so happy meeting her, having fun as well as instagramming around. Good news – Elly just booked her tickets and will be visiting Berlin again soon."

2. Alina and Ethan

"This is Ethan, my friend from NYC. We actually met on a certain dating app, which has a rep for being superficial, let's call it Tender. It didn't work out romantically, but recently he visited me and @krzwl in Berlin and slept on our couch, so I guess it wasn't such a bad encounter after all. Jokes aside — Ethan is an ivy-league graduate (Yale and Princeton), racing-cars engineer, skier and a redhead (hello, ladies). And we are going to the Burning Man together this year!"

3. Richard and Benjamin

Courtesy of visumate

"Benjamin (@freistellen) and I have been digitally connected for years. We found each other in some photo group on Flickr, something related to street photography, I guess. We liked each other's style and started following each other. Tumblr and Facebook followed, and last but not least Instagram. We never got past photo small talk though. In May this year, we finally met for the very first time in Leipzig - live and in color."

4. Thomas and Liz

"It has not even been a year since I met @lizvegaberlin for the first time. Not only is she the funniest person to hang out with, but she's also there when you need help or good advise. Really happy that #WeMetOnTheNet and became friends and colleagues in real life."

5. Elitza and Elena

Courtesy of visumate

"I had been a fan of Elena (@lenneek) and her project @colorbones for a while but we didn't know each other personally. Shortly before her first exhibition in Berlin we started following each other on Instagram. Two weeks later we went on our first photo walk together. We walked through Sofia's streets for about seven hours and took an incredible amount of photos. We got along very well and decided to emigrate to Berlin together soon. I appreciate Elena's honesty and humour. I can be myself when I'm around her, and we share the same passion for photography, Berlin and German boys!"

6. Nadina and Christian

"Christian @crsfisk was the very first one I've ever #metonthenet. We met in a chat room. His nickname was 'Paradisvogel' (paradise bird) and mine was 'Badeentchen' (rubber duck). We don't really remember when we first met, but it's around 14 years ago, maybe longer. I'm thankful for this friendship and hope, that it will go on for at least another 14 years."

7. Philipp and Friederike

Courtesy of visumate

"I first started following Friedi (@fseybold) when I saw that she was hanging out with some of my dear Instagram friends from Berlin, which made me think that she must be pretty cool. Since I didn't make it to Hamburg myself then, the first time we met was actually in Berlin when the Hamburg crew was in town for a photo walk through Friedrichstadt-Palast. That weekend I figured out she is indeed cool and we bonded over some beer and career advice. Recently we met again this time in Hamburg where we walked around the rainy harbor and took this picture."

8. Thai and Isis

"We met each other in person after talking through Instagram direct messages. Since she is an architect and I love architecture photography, we started traveling together to see many popular architectural spots. The installation of 'in Orbit' in Düsseldorf was one of our very first destination and I enjoyed it a lot. I hope we will make it to more places all over the world."

Cover photo courtesy of visumate

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