Putting the Social  Back in Social Networking

Putting the Social Back in Social Networking

Remember when social networks were new? And Facebook? Back when you could poke someone and gift them a picture of a flower … just because? It was exciting back then – social networks were revolutionising the way we connected with people. But what has that really amounted to? Facebook has become a digital mirror of real-life friend networks, full of TMI and little opportunity to meet new people.

If you’re stuck in a “same old parties, same old people” rut and think it might just be fucking nice to meet some people who like the same shit as you, take to the internet. I promise it’s not entirely saturated with bronies and creeps – out there in lands of Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit there are some genuinely nice and interesting people.

Facebook is not the place to make new connections – it’s largely taboo to friend request a stranger, even a stranger who exists on the fringes of your current social circle. Even Facebook arches an eyebrow each time you add a friend – “do you know this person outside of Facebook?” it demands.

If you want to take a more direct approach and meet some new people in the flesh, or don’t want the onus of being witty on Twitter to gain followers (ain’t nobody got time for that shit), take a look at Couchsurfing and Meetup. I like to think of these social networks as digital-age equivalents to your mum’s nice suggestion that you join a club, but better, because you don’t have to join a social hockey team and risk breaking your fingers every Wednesday.


(iOS and Android apps available)

Couchsurfing is a network that connects travellers, couches, and couch-owners. Essentially, you offer your couch to a traveller in exchange for some lively conversation and maybe a cooked meal or two.

But owning a couch is not a prerequisite to becoming a couchsurfer, nor is being a traveller. Sign up even if you’re just keen to meet up with travellers, show them around the city or introduce them to the age-old Kiwi institution of binge-drinking. Travellers are always a varied bunch and you might make some convenient friends – you never know when a friendly face and a couch to crash on in Zagreb might come in handy. You can also mine them for information and travel tips that will be invaluable come OE time.


(iOS and Android apps available)

Meetup is like online dating, but for friends! Okay, admittedly that does not make it sound very appealing, but Meetup connects people who want to pursue their interests and meet new people. If no one you know will indulge your desire to play Scrabble and drink Irish coffees it might be time to throw social caution to the wind and sign up.

Scan the Meetups in your area and join in – there are groups for anything from sports to coding to movie-going and more. Or create your own damn group and find some like-minded Scrabble players and Irish coffee drinkers.
This article first appeared in Issue 14, 2013.
Posted 6:05pm Sunday 7th July 2013 by Raquel Moss.