For as long as social media has existed, it’s been questioned whether or not these platforms are actually making us more social or less? We live in the world of the hermit-nouveau… we have the option to live in total isolation, yet in the midst of society and with claims to hundreds of friends. Everything can be bought online or through self-checkout, you can work for home, and reasonably get through your day without any form of human contact. You can even do church on your own… download your favorite praise music, listen to podcasted sermons, and tweet your prayer requests.
Is this what we actually wanted from our advances in “social” media?
Of course not. Social media was intended to reconnect us with old friends and introduce us to new. Finally, I’ve come across an app that can actually help you cross that bridge into an actual social experience.
Enter Sonar. It’s not just another check-in app that shares where you are with people who don’t care… (only 4% of adults are using check-ins at all, and the number is declining because they hold little value to the user and even less to the other side of the newsfeed) … but one that shares your location with people who actually might care: the people in the same room.
With Sonar you check into a location, an event, a conference… and it shows you who else is there in order of relevance to you. You might discover a friend that you didn’t know would be attending. Or reconnect with that contact you met once and connected to on Linked-In, you may not have spotted them on your own but now you can arrange to meet up and further that relationship.
Maybe most significant is the potential to make new contacts based on common friends and interests. With a click you can message a potential lead to strike up a conversation or arrange a meeting. In the words of Sonar’s CEO, Brett Martin, at TechCrunch “So many of you guys paid thousands of dollars and traveled thousands of miles to come to this amazing conference to make that connection… to get that deal. Are you guys really going to leave that up to chance?”
The professional networking advantages are clear. But now imagine Sonar taking hold at your church. Despite the best intentions of your volunteers and staff, people still get lost in the shuffle and feel disconnected. Sonar could potentially empower your entire congregation to engage a new person, and actually empower that first-timer themselves to reach out and meet someone new. Finally a social medium that’s actually social!
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