While technology has allowed us to communicate with each other instantly from any place in the world, it’s critical that we learn to use it as something to help us network in person as well as remotely. It’s easy to forget that most of our communication is still done face-to-face; USA Today reports that 75 percent of all conversations in the U.S. are in person as opposed to the less than 10 percent that happen online. Modern smartphone technology can help us continue to interact face-to-face, and network better and smarter.
The importance of actually seeing who you are talking to cannot be overstated. Our brains are finely tuned to recognize and react to faces, and National Geographic reports that the brain takes only 200 milliseconds to recognize if what you are looking at is a face or not. In a time when most people are relaying quick bursts of information through texts, actually looking at and talking to a person can be a breath of fresh air. If you cannot leave the office, Apple’s Facetime app ends the constant stream of text messages or emails, and lets you see an actual face through video calls. Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod are all built with a front facing camera that makes using Facetime easy, and allows you to use your device in portrait or landscape mode.
Another interesting video-chat program is ooVoo, which can be logged into with your Facebook account on Blackberry, Android, iOS and Windows devices. The ooVoo app is unique in that it integrates with your preexisting social network and allows you to chat with up to 12 friends at a time on a variety of mobile devices. While it is no substitute for spending time together in real life, ooVoo can allow groups of friends, colleagues or business professionals who live across the world from one another to get together with the press of a button.
For those times when you are out and about and want to meet up with friends or family, your smartphone can get you there. Find My Friends is an app that uses GPS technology to pin-point your real-time location and that of participating users. Available for Android and iOS, Find My Friends will help you locate connections whether they are lost, stuck in traffic or right around the corner, making it easy to meet up and have a face-to-face conversation.
Meeting New People—In Person
We tend to think that the new way of networking is through social media, but what if there was a device that helped you meet people with similar interests in the real world? Enter Amico, a small bracelet device that brings social networking to life. You can load elements of your Facebook profile onto the stylish and comfortable Amico bracelet, then, Amico lights up and vibrates when you are near someone who shares your interests. Developed by a Cambridge start-up company named Trovare, Amico’s developers are seeking to bring back the spontaneity of meeting in a world that has been dominated by social media.