(First published in The Huffington Post)
No question that social media has revolutionized communication. As a result, are becoming more knowledgeable, more direct, and in a lot of ways, more diversified. But what is going to happen to real, human experiences and interactions in the years to come?
Social media has significantly changed the way many of us operate in our personal and professional lives. Well — some of us more than others! We have all seen people who are so obsessed with pouring their life out on social media that they actually forget how to live it. We complain “that couple” who fights with each other over Facebook, or that bride-to-be who is so swept up in the attention of posting every moment on Instagram — that she forgets to enjoy her engagement. Or even the guy that pretty much just details every move he makes on Twitter: “Just woke up and made some toast. About to mow the lawn. #Saturday.” With this rapid change in online behavior, it is no wonder why some say that social media has totally corrupted us.
You we could choose to think of it that way. Or we could choose to think that social media has actually given us a platform for greater, and more direct communication. Because of social media, we are able to connect with people that we would never have the opportunity to meet, simply because we are allowed access — instead of having to be in the right place at the right time. We’re able to passively share the lives of people we know on Facebook and other social platforms. We COULD see this as an opportunity for greater personal growth.
Reading or hearing about something will never (and SHOULD never) replace really connecting with others through shared experiences. New social media networks are starting to pick up on this trend — using their platform as a tool to allow people to have real life experiences.
Skout is probably the most popular example of this. It is a social media dating site that uses a GPS tracking device to find other singles in your area, view their profiles and decide if you want to meet. It’s similar to Tinder, but a little classier. It seems to be more about making real human connection than simply “hooking up.”
Nexercise is a social exercise app that tracks your gym and eating habits, while keeping you engaged in a social network of other health-conscious friends. It alerts you whenever your friends are currently working out or have reached a milestone in their fitness goals — giving you a huge incentive to stick with your exercise and eating plans. It also promotes friends going to the gym with one another, rather than alone. It’s social and fun if you’re working out (and yeah, it kind of shames you to your friends if you’re not!).
1st Class Fashion is a very new social platform. It was founded by a medical doctor with a passion for fashion and travel. One day while waiting at the airport, he found himself paying close attention to people’s fashion and thought of how cool it would be if people could fly according to their personal style. So he developed this media platform in which people from all over the world can post their fashion pictures and generate “likes.” Those reaching over 300 Likes receive a first class plane ticket to anywhere they would like — so they can actually experience fashion in different cities FIRSTHAND.
Living in a world where limit our communication to 150 characters or less, we should support social media like this and get ourselves out making real personal connections.