Yes, there is such a thing as a virtual tea party! In these days where it seems that our entire lives are online, not holding virtual tea parties would be the odd thing. So, holding one seems a total no-brainer… but I beg to differ. It can be quite tricky, as you will soon see.

A typical virtual tea party posting! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A typical virtual tea party posting! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Selecting a Venue

You have choices these days, with Facebook being at the forefront (but waning due to increasing security and privacy concerns and an environment that is becoming far more commercial than social). Twitter now allows the posting of photos but still limits tweets to 140 characters (part of that will be the name of people you want to see the tweet, and the photo takes us some of it), but it’s amazing how much you can say in such a short space. LinkedIn is more business oriented but you could set up a group just for your virtual tea party. Connecting with people is a bit trickier than on other sites, though. Pinterest is a good option since it’s all about the visual but also allows text (a larger amount than Twitter but less than Facebook) and people can comment on your pins – just set up a “board” for your virtual tea party and invite others to pin to it.

What to Include

Okay, so the venue is all set. Now what? Well, it’s all about photos and a bit of information on them. So, step one is to get that camera out and start clicking. Take a picture of what you are currently steeping, or the tea in the cup, or the dry tea leaves, and so on. Feel free to virtually share also your tea time treats! Virtual treats are my favorite kind since they are calorie-free! I can indulge in all the cakes and pies and chocolate covered bacon I want and not worry a bit about added poundage. But a view of those tea leaves can really be enticing. Not all tea comes as ground up dust in a bag with or without a string and tag attached. The sight of those little silver needles or those tieguanyin nuggets or a teabloom emerging or a tuocha expanding is quite a delight.

A Bit of Etiquette

For a virtual tea party, etiquette is quite different than for those real life tea parties. For one thing, you can slurp all you like – no one will hear or see you doing it. Ditto for pinky pointing, wiping your mouth (or nose) with your sleeve, belching, or just about any other egregious behavior you would generally engage in while enjoying tea in the privacy of your home. But there are certain points of etiquette that do need to be observed: say “hi” when you jump in and “bye” when you leave (if you’re using a site other than Pinterest), be nice, don’t make fun of someone’s less than stellar picture taking, provide information about your own photos beyond it just being a black tea or a green tea, and if asked for a recipe for your special cake or pie that you posted, be ready to provide it or a good reason why not.

Above all, have fun!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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