Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… Buzzwords of our time and currently some of the biggest corporate entities in the world.
I don’t know about you but when MySpace came out I was straight on there finding mates of mine who’d gone off my radar – and quite a few who I just liked the look of… Sites like Friends Reunited had always charged a fee to get in touch with people and other sites like WAYN (Where are you now?) seemed a bit, I dunno, not that good or under-used. Oh and Bebo? Let’s not go there…
But Facebook came along and I’m sure Friends Reunited are now kicking themselves that they didn’t rethink their business plan sooner.
Fast forward to a very different world circa 2017 and social media tends to be seen as a very overdone and maybe a necessary evil to a degree. We all know it’s there but most of us go on it begrudgingly and probably the majority of people I know will exclaim that they hate Facebook even though they’re on it all the time. Baby photos? Bleeurgh! Someone showing off about their sixth holiday of the year? Urghh! The perfect life presented in annoyingly twee snapshots with loads of likes and comments? Gimme a break dammit! Stupid ‘fake news’ post in a Daily Mail incredulous style? Really?? You believe that??
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally anti social media. It has it’s uses and in a world where many of us (myself included) have many friends and family around the world it is definitely something that makes that world an easier place to be in. But my issue is the over reliance on social media we now have, maybe it’s just too successful. For businesses too, sites like Pinterest and Twitter are kind of indispensable in getting the brand out there.
I haven’t had the Facebook app on my phone for a few years and I refuse to use their messenger app. In fact the fact that they run Instagram and Whatsapp is giving me second thoughts about even those apps. But Whatsapp is super successful because it is exactly what social media should be: direct, personal, real. Or as real as social media gets.
A friend of mine once described Twitter perfectly to me. It’s like everyone shouting into a big room and trying to find the interesting people by using terms that everyone else is using. I use it too, I prefer Twitter to Facebook these days but mainly because I use it to get people like you to read blog posts like this. And another reason I prefer it is because you don’t have peoples baby photos or bullshit ‘fake news’ posts.
What we need more of is ‘real’ social media. I’m talking sites like Meetup, CouchSurfing and iTalki which have all had a positive impact on me over the past few years. Less re-posting half truth news stories from the Daily Fail and more meeting people in real life to discuss, exchange, experience and actually live!
I haven’t been single for quite a while and I’ve missed the boat on the dating apps so I can’t comment on things like Tinder or Grindr which have also had a massive social impact on a par with Facebook, but even they count as far as I’m concerned.
For the unititated let me introduce the sites above.
Find groups in your area doing cool things that you can get involved in. From fitness classes, singing groups, language exchanges to drinking buddies, swinging and ‘anti’ social meetups (yeah I’m not sure either). It’s free to join and loads of the groups host free events. I’ve met numerous new friends from certain groups and I’m even progressing my career in one respect thanks to it.
More like this please…
The CouchSurfing project is still going and is a great idea. Basically, you stay at a strangers house and they show you their manor. By manor I mean their town/area etc. It offers a whole new perspective on travel and means you get free digs, potential new friends and see a town from a different angle than if you just stayed in a hotel.
CouchSurfing requires a degree of respect for your host, it’s not a hotel after all. There are some CouchSurfing horror stories and when I was in India I did get slightly weird messages from some locals but generally, as a tool for exploring the world while meeting people, whats not to like?
This is ‘Facebook for language learners’ and is one of the sites that has made it a lot easier for everyone to learn a language. Sign up, find a buddy in your target language and chat to them. What’s not to like? Also its free although you can pay for lessons from proper teachers.
What I’m trying to say is that we should rely less on the tediousness of Facebook or Instagram and get out more. Use social media to expand our horizons and not sit there in a room comparing ourselves to others because they’re posting lots of pictures of their perfect life on whatever site you’re currently addicted to.
I have a few simple ideas for ‘real’ social media if any one wants to steal these ideas and credit me and maybe even chuck me a few quid if they do OK out of it.
Holiday Buddy: You want to go somewhere and all your mates are busy or don’t have money. So you don’t go. Rubbish. Surely you should be able to find a likeminded soul out there somewhere??
LiftShare: There is already a liftshare app but everytime I’ve tried to use it, it appears to be woefully underused. This could be combined with a Holiday Buddy type affair though which could expand it’s appeal.
iParty: Want to put on a party? Don’t have a venue? DJ’s? Bands? Friends? Could also be used by corporates to big up their brand and stuff.
Anyone who has good social media suggestions that aren’t the usual, please enlighten me in the comments below. Oh and share this on Twitter and Facebook if you please 😉