Online social networking is the primary form of communication and experience sharing for most Gen Ys, but the prevalence of such digital interaction has some folks wondering what the impact will be on their interpersonal skills
. Now, some new online platforms are encouraging a balance between digital and real-world relationships by making it easier for people to meet up with fellow networkers in offline settings.
is an LA-based startup that curates in-person activities through an online social network. Members interested in new experiences, or “enthusiasts,” can search through categories such as Indulgent, which is all about food, wine, and alcohol; Active, covering outdoor athletic endeavors; Creative, for arts and crafts; and Eclectic, for everything else. Instead of another weekend at the bar or in front of the computer, participants can learn sushi rolling, rock climbing, or even card counting. Differentiating itself from other common-interest platforms like Meetup
, Lifecrowd partners with reputable local experts, or “Hosts,” to organize and run the events and share their skills with groups of old and new friends.
Small enough to fit on a keychain, MagnetU
is a “proximity networking” device that finds people with similar interests in one’s immediate vicinity. Once linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts, the MagnetU website identifies the user’s unique set of social preferences. When two nearby profiles seem compatible, each user is notified of the other’s presence. Based on ranking levels, a text message notifies the match as “attractive,” “hot,” or “red hot.” Profiles can be adjusted to fit different scenarios—‘business’ mode detects professional networking opportunities, while the ‘social’ setting spots potential dates. Similar to Bump
, when two MagnetU devices are clicked together, contact information is exchanged for future connections.
Neighborhood coffee shops may double as freelancers’ “coffices,”
but they’re also the preferred non-committal meeting ground for friends and first dates alike. Tapping into this coffee culture
is Over Coffee
, a new social network that connects caffeine devotees with one another through their love of the bean. Members create their own personalized profiles (or import their Facebook account information), upload photos, share memorable café encounters, and tag favorite coffee shops on an interactive map. Ultimately, Over Coffee plans to create an offline companion to its online platform by opening a chain of brick-and-mortar coffeehouses that cater to its already established customer base of likeminded coffee lovers.