Widespread availability of location capabilities has enabled a range of new applications showing where we are. We also have applications allowing us to show which of our friends are in the neighborhood right now, without connecting in advance. The ability to share where we are and letting technology keep track of suggestions on who to connect with in real life here and now is transforming social patterns in the city.
We plan less in advance on what to do and when to do it. We let opportunities and the moment guide what we decide to do. These shorter decision cycles also raise expectations on instant appreciation for what we decide to do. If it is not good, we always have the option to shift to a new place or activity nearby. These social patterns represent a significant new factor for many businesses labeled as social meeting places, such as restaurants, cafes, bars, museums, stores and arenas.
A new lifestyle is emerging around applications that allow us to meet new people based on proximity of interests and locations. Who around me shares my interests and would be an interesting person to meet? Is anyone interested in sharing travel memories over a cup of coffee? Is there anyone else in this hotel who prefers company rather than eating alone tonight? This may not be adopted quickly by the middle-aged population, but it could become a new factor in the social life in the city for the younger generations.
Here are my predictions for the location/phone-enabled social life in the city:
– The planning horizon for social meetings will continue to shrink.
– Spontaneous meetings based on location, interest and mood will continue to grow in importance.
– Connecting first with a URL to meet soon ‘IRL’ will become an increasingly relevant scenario for how to make new social connections.
– Cityzens will be faced by more challenging privacy decisions on how much of their life to expose.