For the sake of being social

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Have you ever been commuting or been in a elevator for a few floors? Not a very lively and social environment is it? In the Netherlands there seems to be a rule that while commuting you are not allowed to talk to others that you do not know and the same goes for elevators. Which […]

Have you ever been commuting or been in a elevator for a few floors?
Not a very lively and social environment is it? In the Netherlands
there seems to be a rule that while commuting you are not allowed to
talk to others that you do not know and the same goes for elevators.
Which is weird behavior, since when you would see the same people
online on a social network, they are all talking and sharing some of
their deepest secrets, even to people they have not met in real life.

Often when I do a presentation about social media and how to apply
it in your daily work I get the question if there is still space
for real life human interaction or that it will be replaced by social
media. Well if you read the first paragraph than it might the basis of
a very spooky future where people interact via screen and keyboards.

However, interaction between people is something that every human
being wants and needs, it just seems like the barrier online is so much
lower than in real life. Online you have got a reason to talk to
someone, or to an entire group (for example Twitter is about what you
are thinking / doing at this moment). In a bus of elevator, there is no
reason to interact or to start a conversation. Well actually there are
enough resons to interact with your fellow commuters since you will not
get killed by interaction and although you are taught that you should
never talk to strangers, it won’t hurt you, it could add value and gain
you some insights. However, starting a conversation with somebody you
don’t know seems to feel a bit clunky in real life.

With a spooky future ahead it is a good thing we have social media. A service like  Akoha offers a social reality game
where you can earn points by playing real-world missions with your
friends. Missions might include giving someone your favorite book,
inviting a friend for drinks, or buying a friend some chocolate.
Something that you will not do just to make you feel good, however if
you have got a reason (like a social reality game that has cards with
missions on it), than you have a reason to do so. It does not feel
clunky anymore, and the one you are helping could be still a bit
surprised, however he will not be suspicious, since he knows why you
are doing this.

Cristina Matei created something similair called Springboard.
That is exactly what Akoho and Springboard do: offering a springboard
to real life interaction via social media that removes the barrier we
perceive when starting up real life interaction. Using social media
just for the sake of being social in real life, I sure hope that is not
our future, however still better than only talking with each other via
screens and keyboards.

Rick Mans is Information Architect and a social media evangelist within Capgemini. You can follow and connect with him via Twitter or Delicious

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