The Social In Real Life Category

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Facebook & Twitter dominated Web 2.0 social with the status update and Foursquare is leading mobile social with the checkin. However an important shift is happening that is very visible in the early adopters in LA Tech: Social Networking In Real Life.

Post Web 2.0 is about meeting in real life. Not updating your status and tweeting. Meetup nailed this last year – in Scott Heiferman’s words “2012 was the year Meetup took off.” An exponential number of people started meeting up in real life and got off their phones to hike, network, and participate.

This era of technology is about social, in real life.  Social IRL is the mega category that is just beginning to get legs. It’s a shift from the last generation of social:

Facebook ——> Meetup
You got to hand it to Meetup for being ahead of its time and still winning the community building category. I can’t think of another startup in history that lasted 10 years for it to be the right time, then taking off when the era caught up to the technology. We’re moving away from the “go online to connect with friends” era (a.k.a. Facebook) and moving toward meeting up. Use the web to get together in real life, not live your social life through a screen.

Foursquare ——> Gonnabe
It’s no longer about doing something and sharing what you’re doing right now online (checkin, tweet, status update). It’s about sharing where you’re gonna meetup. What cool event are you hitting up this weekend to get away from the computer, not going out and missing the concert because you’re tweeting. (disclosure: I work at Gonnabe)

Match.com, OkCupid ——> Let’s Date, Bang With Friends, How about we
In “Something in the air: What’s behind the big numbers on new dating apps”, Mike Carney explains the renewed interest in dating tech. Not only are the old platforms out of date, they’re very web focused. Online profiles and online interaction – these new sites are all about meeting IRL. To OkCupid’s credit they’re keeping up with the trend with their Crazy Blind Date app that gets you out of the house and actually dating rather than chatting.

LinkedIn  ——> Letslunch
LinkedIn did for professionals what Facebook did for friends. It brought the graph online, with status updates for job posting and people getting new jobs. Letslunch is the opposite – professional discovery by meeting up in real life for lunch.

Twitter ——> At The Pool
Twitter brought curated news and status updates and let us self organize our interests by following people posting stuff we’re interested in. At The Pool takes the same interest based approach, but it’s not curating tweets and blog post links, it’s curating people to meet, get introduced and meetup in real life. Interest based social IRL.

Instagram ——> Tapshare
Instagram grew from the traditional social channels. Likes, comments, blast through existing and newly formed networks with pictures you can’t help but click. Tapshare is different. It’s not about filters or sharing, it’s about the bond you create while you’re at a place, a micro temporary community formed by attending an event or going to a party. Your sharing with that in real life micro community an experience, not with your existing social channels.

Interestingly, many of the companies leading this charge are in LA. Perhaps it’s LA’s mingle and network culture influenced from the entertainment industry, however it seems Social IRL is a category that LA has a chance to make an impact in.

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