As I have mentioned many times in the past I’m not a huge fan of social media. Given my dislike of people and social situations in general that’s not entirely surprising. When I go to hell, I expect it to be an eternal ‘networking‘ session where I’m forced by little men with horns and forks to talk to complete strangers at trade shows. Having said that I do use LinkedIn and I have a Facebook page which I never post on. I welcome pretty much all invitations to friend or connect (because I don’t really value the platforms) and that has gotten me into trouble on occasion, where my maniacally social wife will grill me on who various women on LinkedIn or FB are….many of whom I actually barely know at all.
In any event I was looking at a new “people search” tool called ark.com which is currently lumbering up to the start. Their paradigm is to index the LinkedIn, Facebook and other social platforms so that users can search not for people they do know, rather it lets users specify the parameters of people they would like to connect with and approach them through the platform. If I were visiting Chicago and I wanted to play chess with a cat loving man of Vietnamese extraction who went to my old high school they could in theory hook me up….assuming that I and the aforesaid gentlemen happen to subscribe to Ark.com and the appropriate other interest or alumni programs.
This approach of using social media to hook up with people you don’t know but happen to be in physical proximity to is highly successful in certain areas such as the gay dating world where platforms like grinder.com facilitate exactly that kind of connection. Recent years have seen the launch of several other platforms which set out on the premise that it would be neat to be able to track down people you don’t actually know who may be nearby with similar interests but discovered that technology enabled stalking was problematic and have morphed into ways to track down people you do know instead.
The folks at ark.com are launching with colleges under the premise that if it worked for Facebook it will work for them, and maybe it will. In the event that it does start to take off I imagine Facebook will pull one of their famous programming all-nighters and will come up with an exactly similar solution which will allow existing FB users to discover people of like minds which they don’t currently know and that will be game over for our friends at Ark.com. Either way…I’m not playing.