trendwatching.com – Mass Mingling June July 2010
June – July 2010 | Long gone are the days when ‘online’ was synonymous with social isolation and loneliness. In fact, we’re now witnessing the exact opposite: technology is driving people to connect and meet up en masse with others, in the ‘real world’. It makes for an interesting, easily-digested trend, begging to be turned into new services for your customers.
Earlier this year, we touched upon the MASS MINGLING trend in our ‘10 trends for 2010’ briefing, but this phenomenon now warrants its own, full briefing:
As predicted by digital gurus more than a decade ago, hundreds of millions of people are now living large parts of their lives online (and lovin’ it!). However, this has not turned entire generations into homebound, anti-social zombies (another popular forecast). Au contraire: social media and mobile communications are fueling a MASS MINGLING that defies every cliché about diminished human interaction in our ‘online era’.
So (for now), forget a future in which the majority of consumers lose themselves in virtual worlds, with cities dying and kids never seeing the light of day; expect people to mingle and meet up like there’s no tomorrow. A definition:
MASS MINGLING | Thanks to the online revolution, hundreds of millions are now actively searching for, finding, connecting/signaling, and staying in touch with likeminded souls in the virtual world. Constant updates, GPS and mobile online access is now bringing this explosion of dating, networking, socializing and mingling to the real world domain.
Expect the MASS MINGLING trend to be giving for a long time. While all of the above will go mainstream in the years to come, keep a (short-term) eye out for impromptu meet-ups of strangers, mobs and crowds with similar causes. Many of these meet-ups will revolve around generating public attention, or getting something done.
Also (and rather amusingly), expect the new lament from sociologists and philosophers to be about the loss of solitude, due to 24/7 connecting activities (after having fretted over social isolation for years 😉
Long term, younger generations will be at ease with meeting likeminded souls they’ve met ‘virtually’: it’s a change in attitude that will fuel MASS MINGLING even more.
On the tech side of things, expect the triumphant rise of all things mobile to continue: iPhones, Android, Apps, iPads, 3G, 3.5G, 4G, Wifi everywhere, clouds, GPS (and Galileo, Compass and Glonass)– the list goes on! Which is yet another push for MASS MINGLING on steroids.
For business, the opportunities are plentiful: Anyone involved with anything that helps people getting and staying in touch, that gets people from A-Z, or that accommodates those people before, during or after meet-ups with others, should find it easy to dream up services and products that further facilitate one-off or recurring MASS MINGLING of your customers if not your brand fans.
At the same time, purely ‘online’ brands will have to further embrace the real world, by building a temporary or permanent real-world, physical presence. In the end, every business wants to be where its customers (physically) are. Of course, our recent Trend Briefing on BRAND BUTLERS comes to mind, too.
Oh, and what’s trendwatching.com itself doing, mingling-wise? Well, while we’re doing plenty of unofficial mingling, we will initiate a number of more structured MASS MINGLING events for dedicated readers, Seth Godin style. We’ll announce these meet-ups in the next few months, so make sure you are subscribed to our Trend Briefings.
Until then, make the most of the convergence of offline and online!
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