Impromptu connections are behind new social networks that live beyond the cyberspace

Technology tempts us to harness any quiet moment to complete a productive task or partake in social activity. Personal technologies are nudging us to remain plugged-in at every turn. But this constant connection comes at a price. With our focus aimed downward and inward, we fail to embrace social happenstance; rarely do we interact with strangers that inhabit our physical space. With our connectedness defining our behavioral social patterns, how can we harness that very technology to break free?

A social initiative that is encouraging people to socialize offline is “The Branch Out Movement.” Participants sign up, receive a handmade reminder bracelet and are sent simple tasks on a weekly basis to stimulate offline interactions. The challenges inspire subscribers to ‘approach someone who is reading a magazine’ or ‘ask a stranger for a song recommendation.’ When completed, the participant records the success and is rewarded with points, medals, and perks.

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