Strangers No More: Social Media Powered Dinner Parties to Meet Neighbors and Future Friends
7:24am Your smartphone alarm goes off in your hand, and you check e-mail and social.
7:32am iPad on and scan your RSS while brushing your teeth.
8:01am Snap a photo of Tuesday morning (Brannan filter) tagged at the neighborhood Intelligentsia Coffee.
Now take all the technology out of that morning, and what’s left? You, a toothbrush and a banana.
For some, the above might be a gross exaggeration, for others it may seem spot on, and for the hyper-connected, it might be missing a Quora response, LinkedIn connection, and Google+ post.
The point is: for better or worse, we live in a world that encourages constant connectivity. The ability to share and create content has never been easier. A photo capturing everything from a sunset to a kale salad can spread virally and from where I sit, I cannot help but scratch my head and ask, “When did my life become so interesting to others?” Please, don’t get me wrong, I am a consumer of most social networks but I struggle to live my life through my iPhone and news feeds, exclusively.
The good news is that I look at being constantly connected as an opportunity. This is where I see the next wave of consumption moving and challenging the ways of social media to offer users the ability to be, for lack of a better word, social.
A simple Google search yields hundreds of hits declaring the importance of friendship and its health benefits as we age though very little is found on how to build said friendships. When I think about the process of making friends, personally, I am brought back to college. Be it before or after a lecture, breaking bread in the dining hall, over a beer, you name it- most everyone was interested in meeting and befriending others. Post-college, however, the friendship making process becomes a bit awkward and is often confused as hitting on someone or trying to land a new job.
Given the post-college struggles of making new friends and the reality that most people will move at least once during their adult life, we are in need of social tools that help people meet other people in the real world.
It has been reported that roughly 96 percent of 18-35 year olds are on at least one social network. We need to leverage these existing social networks and connect offline, interact with other people face-to-face, and ultimately continue making new friends well into adulthood. The good news is: a service already exists to help you do just that. This service is Grubwithus.
Grubwithus harkens back to the good old days before Facebook—the days when you made plans and met people for dinner sans smartphones. Food has always been a universal connector, a social lubricant, and a conversation starter. We all eat, and though some may prefer lasagna over lo mein, breaking bread is a basic human practice that connects and comforts people.
We’re simply trying to bring people back to the basics by disconnecting from technology for a while, eating a great meal at a local restaurant, and doing so with other people. You can join a Grubwithus meal or you can take the reigns and create a meal that suits your schedule and preferences. All meals are held at local restaurants, the food is served family-style, and the bill is paid before the dinner starts. It’s not complicated and just think, at a Grubwithus meal it’s considered cool to table your smartphone for a couple of hours to hang out, in real life.
On April 27, 2013, host a Neighborday party. Join this global celebration and follow the conversation at good.is/neighboring.