Social versus Real Life: Where’s the Balance?

Social versus Real Life: Where’s the Balance?

The reports are in. People are leaving Facebook, and/or spending less time on the platform. It seems that for all of Mark Zuckerberg’s claims that Facebook’s intention is to bring the world closer together, people may well be finding each other online, but it seems that they aren’t necessarily liking what they find.

Or that the online experience simply isn’t enough.

Despite the popularity of the dating platforms and apps, most notably Tinder, Bumble and the myriad others out there, including ones for single parents, the polyamorous, etc., new data shows more than half of millennials are single.

It has been a great party. We had a blast, getting intoxicated on social media and we went to the extreme, ‘friending’ people, many of whom we’ll never meet in real life and may in fact bear very little resemblance to their online personae.

Which has led to a notable shift away from platforms and back to socializing in the real world: it may not be all about eyeballs after all, and online is merely a starting point.

This beginnings of this shift might have been Meetup (acquired by WeWork) itself, but it seems to be escalating. In fact, when WeWork first launched, its stated intention was to be a physical social network. Given the We Company’s move towards embracing early education, living quarters, et al in addition to co-working, seems that that original plan is playing out.

The trend is not only towards meeting in physical spaces, but with health and wellness in the equation as well.

Note the rising platforms:

Daybreaker, an early morning dance movement in multiple cities around the world and growing, was co-founded by General Assembly co-founder Matthew Brimer, and we will remind you that GA first launched as a co-working space. Meanwhile, one of Brimer’s fellow GA co-founders, Brad Hargreaves, went on to found Common, which provided flexible, community-minded shared homes long before the We Company moved into the space, no pun intended.

Note to self: Daybreaker, which is in no fixed venue, creates club-like environments and in addition to dancing, also offers early morning yoga, networking and a social life, not unlike Wellvyl, which offers evening events. Choose your poison and for the record, only healthy, non-alcoholic beverages served at each.

The new social focus is on healthy fun and community. No computer or app necessary to physically participate. It’s the gamification of health, wellness and a social life, taken to the next level, sans leaderboard and meeting eyeballs to eyeballs.

As for the digital nomads, those people who work when and wherever in the world that suits them at the moment, Selina, which raised over $254M, is a hospitality brand that allows them et al to live, work and explore anywhere in the world. Think Club Med in the digital age, with co-working included – the ultimate in work life balance, and nice work, if you can get it. Or for when you need to get away from the office, but not too far away from a desk.

This is not meant to be a travelogue or an endorsement of any of these companies. It’s a heads up that people are still people, and despite the fact that we spend an inordinate amount of time tethered to the ethers, there seems to very much be a movement back to physical community and camaraderie, aka, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or at least, a balance needs to be struck.

Social does not supplant contact with real human beings.

The current age of social seems to be plateauing, and it should come as no surprise. The pendulum might have swung too far. Those men behind the curtain seem to have lost their compass and have lost track of the fact that there are humans on the other side of those screens. Onward and forward.

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