On amicable media and a energy of real-world serendipity

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By now, many of us have grown used to a purpose amicable media plays in a lives: we summary a friends on Twitter, share photos by Instagram or Facebook, and criticism on a friends’ check-ins or demeanour for transport tips on Foursquare. we am as enthralled in this as anyone, given amicable media is a immeasurable partial of how we do my job. But any now and then, we try to modernise my memory about how disruptive these technologies unequivocally are — and one of a many absolute aspects for me is a approach that any of them can duty as a kind of serendipity engine in a lives, if we wish them to. In other words, they can randomize a practice in ways that were never before possible, as they did for me on some new trips to New York and San Francisco.

One example: After nearing in New York for a contention and some meetings progressing this year, we motionless to go for a wander by The High Line park on a Lower West Side circuitously a Meatpacking District — a smashing park that used to be an towering transport track and is now a outrageous immature space that stretches for about 15 blocks. While we was walking, we motionless to check in on Foursquare, given we had never been to a Highline before, and within a notation or dual we had a summary from someone who saw my check-in on Facebook: they were usually a few blocks divided and wanted to accommodate for a crater of coffee.

Randomness can be a unequivocally absolute feature

Ironically, this occurrence took place usually hours after we had told someone that we didn’t unequivocally use a check-in underline in Foursquare to accommodate people unequivocally much, yet mostly used it for tips about restaurants. But after that knowledge — that resulted in a fascinating contention with someone we had been perplexing to accommodate adult with for some time, with no success — we motionless to try it some-more often.

On my subsequent outing to New York, we looked during Foursquare’s tide of crony check-ins to see where some of a people we follow on several services were, and beheld that someone we knew was during a sushi grill not distant from me. we messaged him on Twitter, yet unfortunately he had already left. Since we had an hour or dual to kill, however, we checked my tide and saw a print of Times Square that someone we knew had posted usually a few mins earlier. we messaged her and we wound adult assembly for coffee a subsequent day — even yet conjunction of us knew a other was in city until that moment.

On a new revisit to San Francisco for a GigaOM conference, we had a identical knowledge from a conflicting side of a coin: we posted a print of a transport circuitously where we was staying in an AirBnB unit (another eye-opening knowledge that we wrote about recently) and within mins someone had posted a criticism observant a transport was usually a few blocks from where they lived, and offering to buy me a coffee. We had breakfast a subsequent morning during a internal cafe, and not usually was it a fascinating review yet we happened to be sitting by a window when a Space Shuttle flew by on a final voyage. Talk about serendipity.

Increasing a odds of “bumping into” someone

Not all of my practice with this kind of pointless meet-up have been low or hugely suggestive — in some cases, they have usually resulted in someone observant hello, as a New York staffer from a immeasurable blog network did on my final outing to a city, when we checked in and posted a print from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Chelsea. He introduced himself and pronounced he saw a check-in, and we chatted a bit while we were removing a coffees and afterwards pronounced goodbye. That afternoon, a CEO of a internal startup saw that we had checked in nearby, and sent me an email and we wound adult assembly for coffee.

Obviously, this kind of possibility assembly was probable before social-media collection like Twitter or Instagram or Foursquare came along — we could strike into someone during a store, or on a street, or during a newsstand. But a possibility of those things function is many incomparable now (or could be, if some-more users authorised it to happen). Those collection raise a odds that someone who is in your amicable graph will see your practical location, and a dual of we can bond many some-more simply by a accumulation of services as well, so that semi-random meetings turn many some-more appealing.

Not everybody is going to wish to chuck their calendar out a window or outsource it to Twitter and Foursquare, of course, and in some cases it introduces a lot some-more randomness than we competence wish during a brief outing to a bizarre city. I’ve also had lots of emails and approach messages from people we don’t unequivocally wish to accommodate with, that is a side outcome of a same phenomenon, and we have designed dozens of meetings that never indeed occurred. But a immeasurable infancy of a ones that did occur were value it — and that injection of randomness or serendipity is one of a unsung facilities of social-media tools, during slightest for me.

Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Flickr users Mark Strozier and Shutterstock/MrJPEG