Online to Offline Connections

There’s something quite magical when you meet someone in person for the first time, where the start of the relationship occurred online.

There needs to be a lot of trust for two parties to agree to meet in person, where they only have had minimal communication online. 20 years ago this would have seemed like a ludacris idea, now it takes place quite commonly.

Airbnb, Uber, Tinder, and others all begin a relationship online, where success occurs is when they meet in person. Hinge, a new dating app, even prompts the question after you and a match stop speaking for a while “have you met this match in person?”.

The moment when I really felt the power of this was earlier this summer. It was a simple process. Struggling to sell my bed frame, I listened to my trusted Facebook employee and friend to put up a listing onto Facebook Marketplace. Within a few minutes I had Jordan who reached out asking to buy the bed. Before posting this bed on Facebook Marketplace, I had used 4 other websites, generating only 3 sub-par leads.

Through a number of exchanges, where I attempted to use colloquial language to demonstrate that “I was cool”, I inevitability made Jordan trust me enough to drive out 40 minutes, pick up my bed, and pay me $100.

One question I have been asking myself recently to better understand technological advances for the future is to ask “if this technology was featured on a Black Mirror episode, what would that episode look like?”

In the case of going from online to offline connections, a couple of ideas come to mind.

1.) Will there ever be a need to leave the online realm, and people will simply stay online to develop the relationship?

Arguably this already happens. You hear of stories of couples meeting each other in video game chat rooms, hitting it off, and never meeting one another. “I have a girlfriend in Taiwan…”.

2.) AR + VR will integrate itself into the trust building excercise.

Prior to spending any time with someone offline, you will first check through AR or VR who the person is. In the realm of dating, I can see this being implemented where people would virtually date, check each other out, make sure they like what they see, then agreeing to spending time in person.

Anyways, was pleasantly surprised by this experience and will be looking for others like it moving forward.

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