Relationships and social networks

I find the intersection of technology and human interaction fascinating. Specifically, I am interested in how technology can be used to mimic and augment existing human interactions. I’ve written a bit about Snapchat and how temporary social media is brilliant at mimicking real life experiences. Similarly, the telephone, Skype, and Facetime all use technology to mimic/enable real life conversations.

One area technology hasn’t mimicked well is the formation of human relationships.

What happens when we meet a stranger in real life? We look at them. We observe their dress and body language. We make some small talk to break the ice, and collection enough information to create a first impression. As time goes by, we dig deeper into the relationship, delving into our personal history, our values, our hopes and dreams. We share our lives. And in doing so, we build rapport and trust.

What is the online equivalent? There really isn’t any.

We connect on Facebook and instantly access a stranger’s timeline and photo albums. We look at a person’s Twitter or Pinterest and can instantly view all of their public interests and tweets. There is nothing realistic about this. We don’t gradually get to know someone. Instead, we instantly have access to someone’s information.

This instant access may be OK is some situations, but can be harmful in other situations such as in dating. In real life, after a first date, I only know a little about my date. However, if we connect on Facebook, I can see all of my dates photos, timeline shares, and ex-relationships. IMHO, it breaks the dating process, and doesn’t allow me to slowly learn about a date. That is why the last time I was single, I consciously did not connect with any of my dates on Facebook.

There has to be something better here. Is there some way to create an user experience where people gradually get to know one another? I don’t know exactly what it would look like, but would be glad to see something like this exist.

P.S. This is post number #90 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.