Making Social Media Relevant to Personal Relationships

Social media is kind of its own thing. People love it, but as far as being anything likes interacting in real life, it doesn’t fit the bill. This is okay – people like to be able to touch base on a superficial level that doesn’t really have anything to do with what we think of as personal. People like knowing that their friends are there.

However, people also like doing things and being together with friends. In more tech-savvy buzzword terminology, people like developing new and varying contexts together. Social media such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter only exists in one context – its own. Rather than being a tool for helping to facilitate new or existing personal relationships, it simply creates its own sort of relationship model. This may be why people often cite boredom with Facebook. There are only so many times you can “poke” someone or “like” their posts.

Social media services specialize in the “broadcast” form of interaction, and they have so far failed to provide more “personal” tools for relationship. New social media services need to arise such that individuals will be able to use them to assist in building real, personal relationships with others. These include tools to help people physically meet, communicate and organize beyond the “Meetup” group, where half the people who say they’ll show up actually do, and everybody who go often feels like a stranger.

What is the “Broadcast” Model of Social Media?

Most social media experiences today are akin to standing in a crowded room and focusing on different people shouting. Some of them are your friends, some are just acquaintances, some you barely know, and some may even live in your house. The changes being made to social media tools today are generally about facilitating your ability to react to certain people and ignore others.

The social medium is the context. We are all bounded by the crowded room. If we want to organize a dinner, meet for drinks or coordinate a holiday event – if we want to create different context – we generally need to leave Facebook and pick up the telephone, send an email or do some other form of direct person-to-person contact.

Personal Tools to Fill the Gap

Ideally, social media should provide tools to make context creation easier. What would a better set of tools look like? They might include features such as:

  • Complex Grouping – Creating groups of people based on a theme or event, but focused on the group rather than the event
  • Data Listing – The ability to create a section for relevant information, including maps, times, parking info, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • Intelligent Thread Search Capability – To find information that someone said before, but you can’t find it – like email, but in a social media tool
  • Multi-Platform Usage – should be accessible from Smartphone, tablet, and PC, with calendar, map and email integrative capabilities
  • Seamless Integration with Existing Social Media

Some Personal Tools on the Horizon

A new tool released for use with social play tool Foursquare, Forecast, allows you to plan events with friends to locations. Locations have their own profiles in Foursquare, adding an extra layer of data complexity and interest.

Goba also offers a more personal, less broadcast take on social media. It centers on each user’s address book, allowing the user to plan events and create groups. Plans to incorporate local data, maps and other information into the tools events functionality are in progress.

While these tools are just the beginning, they represent a divergence from the world of social media as a whole. We don’t need any more Facebook tools – we need new ways to assist in our interactions with one another. They take this question and answer it in intriguing ways without falling back on the saturated, shouting-in-a-crowded-room social media markets of today.

This guest post was written by Harrison L., who likes to utilize social media outlets to connect with his readers and network with other bonsai tree beginners and enthusiasts. Recently he has written a blog post about Bonsai Tree Care, Materials and Tools and how anyone can get started with his own bonsai tree at home.

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