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2007 Trends : Social Network Realization

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One of the interesting projects I undertook in 2006 was the Likemind coffee morning with Noah Brier. The coffee morning was just an idea for the two of us to...

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 9 january 2007

One of the interesting projects I undertook in 2006 was the Likemind coffee morning with Noah Brier. The coffee morning was just an idea for the two of us to meet up but it turned into something much bigger. After 5 months were 4 Likemind coffee mornings taking place in different cities from Oslo to Seattle and the New York gathering had grown to what the owner of the sNice cafe called a breakfast rave – with about 45+ people turning up.

There are opportunities for companies to get involved in this space for sure. The Brand Experience Dialog blog writes about  The Socialization of Place as a trend for 2007 and says:

What happens when the social elements of things like myspace leave cyberspace and enter the physical world? Can and should brands use their physical space to help facilitate social interaction in the real world?

When people come to Likemind, they’re surprised by the numbers and the buzz in the air. The explanation I give about Likemind’s popularity is that it reflects a much needed next step in the evolution of formal and informal social networking. This is what we’re going to see more of in 2007.

What I’m trying to say is that although the web has enabled all of us to connect with so many people we couldn’t have before we still don’t know that many more people face to face. It’s the real-world meet up that realizes the whole social networking phenomenon.

Likemind started fairly strongly because people ‘vitrually knew’ me and Noah though our blogs and the social networks we lurked in. I’d argue that the blogs were bigger community builders than the social networks like LinkedIn because the content on our blogs is pretty subjective and this means that its read by a group of self-selective likeminded people seeking opinion. People respond by leaving comments or emails. Noah and I spent a long time creating a community with our virtual friends even though we weren’t really trying to.

The thing is, that at some point, you have to take it further and the web has its boundaries. You have to take the next step and meet people. This isn’t happening with Likemind, recently we’ve noted quite a few coffee mornings around the world attended by strangers and it always amazes me when Engadget recounts its stories about the crowds that turn up to its get-togethers.

At these events people meet and are truly social. They interact in a way that has been programmed into us thousands of years ago, not in a way that an interface built only months ago decides. Watch as many more online communities bond offline – and people get even better benefits from their social networks: new friends, new loves, new jobs, new partnerships and for many, a moment to log off.

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