Social Media Gets UnSocial

October 22nd, 2010

by Lauren Shapiro*


The evolution of social media’s impact on the way we communicate is so vast and is changing so rapidly that experts can’t write their text books fast enough. New developments in social media technologies seem to be positioning themselves in a manner that allows users to find each other online through friends, interests, location, and connecting them offline with tools such as Facebook’s location application, FourSquare and, the communication professional’s favorite, the TweetUp. Thankfully, the world of technology has realized that users seek interaction beyond the computer screen and are finding new niches in the marketplace to make that happen.

According to this TechCrunch article, UnSocial, the newest app for iPhone and Droid, is “geared towards professionals who want to connect with other professionals in similar or related fields, who happen to be nearby.” But don’t let the name fool you, the whole point of UnSocial is to help users bloom into social butterflies within their industry. Using your LinkedIn login/password, the application will ask you to input words that describe your professional background, as well as characteristics of people you are looking to connect with. The app searches for people who match your criteria within close proximity of your location. If you find someone you want to connect with, you can then message, email, or even call that person.

The application is geared toward professionals, but even more specifically toward users attending conferences. The program will help users to more easily indentify the people they most want to network with. I wonder if we will see this app at next year’s PRSA?

How do you see this or similar technology helping media relations and public relations professionals build their offline networks? Do you think that the communications industry will be quick to adopt this type of application at industry events? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

5 Responses to “Social Media Gets UnSocial”

  1. Great article Lauren. I’ve been the rising opinion about how social media is having a negative effect on how we interact with each other on a business and personal level. This sounds like one of the avenues that will enhance the way we communicate instead of replace it. 🙂

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  3. Dashan Craft says:

    This technology or something similar to it has been attempted or tried in the past but now with SM as a main staple of a online users past time. More are you seeing smaller niche sites for particular groups that use SM to find new members, organize, and meet up in person.

    Like many companies that hopped on the social media band-wagon along with a few stragglers. This particular industry which solely deals with communication is if not already hasn’t adopted this tech in some way shape or form. I can for see companies rather then having recruiting booths using some social media outlet as a way to find potential employees while their in college. In some instances how sports set-up a dream team for sports-teams this industry with the help of social media can do the same all through a virtual space for potential employees.

    Conferences will exist but for actually meeting in person. Perhaps conferences will ones day be eliminated entirely once SM is more clearly defined and used. With SM, the ways it can be crafted to suit anything you are looking for is only limited by ones creativity. Just like verbal communication from peer to peer, SM is a tool we know what and how it works but we don’t know how far the extent it can do since its so young. Once its not so young and its more defined we may see something like this in the near future if not tomorrow.

  4. Lauren Shapiro says:

    Dashan –

    Thank you for your comment!

    It will be very interesting to see how social media shapes the way people seek interaction with each other. I think social media will become more utilized in a conference setting but I don’t think it will ever replace it. As social media grows and more niche tools become available, we might find ourselves in social media overload.

  5. Lauren Shapiro says:

    Robert –

    Thank you very much! I hope that social media and interpersonal communication work hand in hand to help us interact on a higher level with individuals we may not encounter in our day to day routine. 🙂

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