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July 6, 2021

Communities in the Age of Online: Why Aren't We Clicking?

With the world supposedly at our fingertips, who'd have thought things could get so, well, lonely? If we can message anyone, anywhere, at any time — why is it so tricky to find like-minded people, and keep the spark alive? What's making online communities so drab?

Throughout these technological times, we've all found it rough chatting online from time to time. Social media has been around for decades now—yet we're barely any closer to the strangers on our feeds than we were to Myspace Tom. On the other hand, I bet you never thought you'd find anyone else on the planet interested in Chess Boxing or Extreme Ironing. There's almost 8 billion people on the planet now though—there's bound to be other weirdos like you out there, right?

Finding your 'people' can be tough

Out in the real word, you can't even quote your favourite TV shows without people looking at you like an alien—granted, you were quoting Star Trek in Klingon, but that's besides the point. Online we can find like-minded people to engage in meaningful conversations with, about topics that we are genuinely passionate about. So, why don't we?

Well, often you still need to find an 'in' with the group that's right for you, and doesn't that feel just like High School all over again. A whole host of interests, but no-one around to reveal the secret password. The digital equivalent to 'all dressed up and nowhere to go'.

And if, by some miraculous chance, you happen upon that holy grail group chat, you may find that all your new friends are still thousands of miles away, living in completely different time zones. You're now back to square one—trying to make fleeting eye contact in the cheese isle at Tesco for just a morsel of human connection.

Stage-fright is a killer, right?

Maybe it's not all doom and gloom. You might bag yourself the perfect community first try. And now it's time to whip out the big guns—your inexplicably extensive knowledge of Chess Boxing, and all its participants. Excellent.

The opportunity arises—someone mentions your favourite player and you crack your knuckles with gusto, ready to blow them away with facts and figures. Each sentence flows like a leaf on the wind. You comb it over for spelling and grammar mistakes again and again, until the words no longer look like real words.

As you gear yourself up to hit send on the all-important 'first message' you glance at the clock in the corner of the screen. It's 3am, and all your friends signed off 30 minutes ago. You'll get them next time, champ.

From lighting the fire, to stoking the flames

Group chats can be an absolute minefield. Whether it's too many or too few, the Goldilocks zone of conversation is difficult to find. They often fizzle out—dying a slow and uncomfortable death. Muted by all but one die hard administrator that just won't let go.

You never got the chance to slip away from it all and get to know just one person, so now all you're left with is a bunch of 'would be' friends. The 'lurkers' have found new groups to fade into—virtual voyeurs, floating from one chat to the next like nomads on the digital sea.

It's time to move on from this barren group chat—back to reality where no-one gets your weird jokes. Or, maybe not. If you're ready to let one-dimensional platforms fade into the ether where they belong, you can sign up to our waitlist below. Yes, we have clickable GIFs—tech is like, our thing.

Click me, we know you want to.

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