Social media platforms are still reporting growth in 2020, even though quitting social media is becoming an increasingly popular movement. But something interesting is happening with the younger generation using social media…
They’re retreating from carefully curated selfies and industriously gathered online “friends” and “likes” and moving away from “traditional” social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
But where are they going?
Notably, they’re gathering around the chance to be themselves authentically and to connect with others based on shared interests and experiences.
Oddly enough, this pattern of gathering isn’t just limited to the young. It’s a trend reflected in other age groups and is even happening behind the scenes on traditional social media platforms.
The desire to gather around the opportunity for authenticity is something that the virtual events community (that’s you!) should know and be talking about, as we are the ones largely responsible for creating social and professional connection opportunities in 2020.
“Social media is Anti Social” – Hoyin Cheung, Founder of Remo
Traditional social media brought with it virtual anonymity, giving us the freedom to act selfishly & aggressively towards people we didn’t even know. Now, young and old are moving away from those uncomfortable places.
People are gravitating to more human online environments where offline social norms can still work in an online context!
Specifically, they are moving to… Digital Campfires! – a phrase coined by Sara Wilson of the Harvard Business Review.
She offered this description…
“If social media can feel like a crowded airport terminal where everyone is allowed, but no one feels particularly excited to be there, Digital Campfires offer a more intimate oasis where smaller groups of people are excited to gather around shared interests.”
Digital Campfires are the place to gather around conversations, communities, and experiences.
And there are three types that you might recognize:
Private Messaging Campfires
Message groups confined to small groups — generally consisting of real-life friends or family and purely for the purpose of chatting
These might be family Whatsapp groups or Facebook messenger groups. These are almost impenetrable by marketers, and users report feeling safe to be themselves as they chat with those who know them well.
Closed or semi-closed communities built around shared interests or values.
These groups are private Facebook groups or the “close friends” feature on Instagram. Slack is another example of a micro-community campfire for professionals, and Youtube is also a gathering place for specific communities where people interact around an interest in specific content.
Shared Experience Campfires
Gathering places focused on a shared experience often with a group of like-minded people who share a common interest.
One of the biggest examples of a Shared Experience Campfire is Fortnight – an online game with eight million players online at any given moment and 200 million players total. The high-speed game’s unique experience regularly contains new events, features, and twists in the game.
Many players spend six to ten hours a week playing Fortnite online to keep in touch with friends – that they have never even met offline!
Other examples are Twitch, a live-streaming site primarily centered around gamers streaming video as they play, and fans gathering together to interact with each other while watching their favorite players and games.
Interestingly, big sponsors like Nike, Marvel, and the NFL are beginning to use these digital campfires to build their businesses through sponsorship and involvement! Even pop musicians are climbing aboard hosting concerts of up to ten million people on a game platform!
These unique shared experience platforms let people connect and open up to each other in a fun way that scrolling through feeds of peoples’ updates on Facebook never could.
Shared Experience Campfires are more social than traditional social media!
Shared Experience Campfires are the evolution of social media. They are places to gather and connect in ways that feel more natural and human to us.
Are you surprised as a Virtual Event Host to hear that you are at the forefront of creating these Shared Experience Campfires for your guests?
That’s right. Virtual Events are the unique digital campfires where your guests can feel the magic of being social in an online environment. But so often, the challenge is, “how can we help our guests open up and connect?”
Ancient Japanese tea ceremonies and digital Shared Experience Campfires… What’s the common thread?
“One meeting, one moment in your life that will never happen again.”
This Japanese idiom, frequently used to describe ritualized Japanese tea ceremonies, expresses that every tea ceremony is a unique experience that should be savored.
This quote is surprisingly referenced by Priya Parker, the bestselling author of “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters,” as she talks about what makes great gatherings.
Great gatherings will often give guests a chance to share a unique moment of beauty, inspiration, surprise, or even laughter with a stranger. And that instant can allow people to open up and bond over the feeling of having shared a unique and special moment together.
A real-life example could be as simple as strangers walking on a beach and striking up a conversation as they enjoy a picturesque sunset together.
Digital Shared Experience Campfires, or in our world, Virtual Events are exactly the opportunities that can create these moments for your guests and speakers, but only if you know how…
Chip Heath, author of NYT bestseller, ”The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact,” shared a “hidden-in-plain-sight” secret to helping people connect.
It’s as simple as putting a group of people in a common frame of mind!
Chip Heath refers to these as moments of “elevation.” Moments that stand out in terms of their sensory or emotional content.
In a Virtual Event, if you use Remo, putting people in a common frame of mind with sensory elevation can be as easy as having an intriguing custom floor plan that gives guests a moment of “wow, cool!”, and a chance to talk with each other.
If you’re using Zoom, you might have something interesting in the background of your video feed that guests can notice together and connect over.
Regardless of what platform you use, take the opportunity to customize an experience that will draw your guests in and give them a chance to bond.
Giving guests a chance to break the ice by connecting over something captivating in the environment is a great way to start your event.
And, if you want to create a feeling of deeper connection for your guests, let them enjoy a shared task together, or connect over something they’re personally invested in.
Start with something as simple as discussing guest’s individual concerns about an industry that they all work in. This can be a great opportunity to highlight their sense of community and deepen the bonding experience by connecting over topics that really matter to them.
A living example of a shared digital campfire in action is the Remo Revolution Community (RRC).
This is a highly motivated group of raving Remo fans. They gather around the shared interests and activities of:
- pushing the Remo platform to the limits to create great campfire moments.
- making requests to the Remo development team for new features that will elevate the experience of their guests.
- supporting each other to host campfires that matter and support the growth of each other’s businesses.
The RRC is a vibrant community that epitomizes what online connection and collaboration is all about. This hybrid campfire blends traditional text-based forums with the power of Remo’s live interactivity.
Members enjoy meaningful connections and conversations around the shared identity of being a Virtual Host and the activity of creating amazing campfires for their guests.
So if you read this far, you already know…
As a community of Virtual Event Hosts (whether you use Remo or not), we need to create campfires that foster collaboration and let people truly connect in meaningful ways.
Let’s become the cure for social media that has become antisocial!
So get involved. Build a campfire to draw your people out of the dark and let them warm themselves in good company.
Whether it’s a roaring bonfire, or a small campfire to roast marshmallows over, it’s time to start bringing people back together.
It’s dark outside, and people are hungry for authentic connection.
Start a fire.
How did this article strike you?
Has it sparked any thoughts about how you could use these ideas in your next event? Maybe you’d like to discuss and hear other people’s ideas?
Either way, come and gather ‘round the campfire at the Remo Revolution Community!
Everyone’s welcome at the RRC campfire, even if you’re not a Remo user. We have a public forum where everyone can join the fun. So come on down, warm yourself with new ideas, fun collaboration, and make some new friends.
Join the Remo Revolution Community!
~ Your Customer Success Team at Remo
Bahar Arapkirli, Carmen Gloria Baez Lopez, George C. Huang, Justin Lee, Karl Brock, Nao Myoshu, Saori Sengen, and Tasneem Muchhala