Social Serendipity

Post by Meg Kerr

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea of serendipity lately – no, not the frozen hot chocolate place in NYC, although that would be delicious in this record breaking heat. I’m talking about serendipity in the digital sense, or what marketers and digital folks are calling ‘social serendipity’.

As many people have lamented, the irony of social media is that in many ways it is inherently anti-social; drop by any ‘influencer party’ and you’ll likely see the local Twitteratti, cocktails in hand, with their heads down on their smartphones. Paradoxically, the shrinking of the world thanks to digital technology has in some ways isolated us from what’s happening around us. The idea of social serendipity, one of the de riguer social trends coming out of SXSW this year, is the concept of using social technologies to connect people across the street (or the room) versus the country. Apps like Highlight connect you to social matches (aka, people with whom you have a lot of mutual Facebook friends) that are nearby. Another perhaps a less/more savory example (depending on your definition of savoury!) is Grindr, a location based app that allows gay men to browse, message, and ultimately arrange hook ups with men in their area. It’s essentially bringing social beyond the digital world and into the real world, creating a ‘serendipitous’ moment of discovery.

For me, one of the most fascinating facets of social technology is not necessarily the actual technological innovation, but rather the sociological implications of that technology; are apps that connect you with strangers nearby something most people would actually be interested in? Call me anti-social, but something about it seems a bit…creepy. While the concept can apply to discovering new restaurants, events, or sales based on your social preferences, the idea of using it to meet strangers is slightly out of my comfort zone. What’s your opinion on social serendipity? Fun? Useful? Creepy?



March 22, 2013 12:44

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roof repair

January 31, 2013 03:05

Love this post, and also love Moomin!

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roof repair

January 31, 2013 01:45

Thanks so much to both of you.

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January 27, 2013 13:49

Ben Goldhammer is a dickhead \

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Roof Repair Virginia Beach

November 12, 2012 03:57

This site is really cool! I found here alot of information that I was looking for. I am really happy to be a part of This site!

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Shelley Hunter @ Gift Card Girlfriend

October 20, 2012 15:16

I have to go with creepy on this - it's akin to the increasing Craigslist crimes. For every service out there that is supposed to do us good, are a few who will turn it into an opportunity for mischief. I prefer the social media apps that allows us to connect with friends, get insights and advice from strangers, and keep the lines clearly drawn. Don't call me anti-social. Call me cautious.

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Taz A

September 20, 2012 23:04

The inherent nature of social technology has most people join new services with the mindset that it will differentiate them among their socially connected peers, only to become a commodity in a new system. While the ability to connect and interact with those immediately in your vicinity seems great at first, i agree that it can seem even more unnerving instead. We as a society have many barriers to knock down before we can really engage in an open manner, such as rampant identity theft that has infected our lives and the loss of privacy to some of these very services we so happily embrace.

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