There is no denying that social networking has had a dramatic impact on life in the 21st century. On the one hand, it has helped us to improve communications with friends and family, although it is easy to argue that those interactions have become incredibly shallow in the process. Frequent status updates, tweets, and social sharing are simply not the same as a meaningful conversation. For many people, social networking is a poor substitute for actually cultivating real relationships with others based on good communication and face-to-face meetings. But one company is using technology to change that with an app designed to promote lasting relationships that go well beyond just sharing updates on Facebook or Twitter.
The team at RealContacts believes that the most important elements to our lives are our social and business relationships. Those relationships help define who we are, and what is most valuable to us. To that end, the company has recently launched a new app designed specifically to help manage, foster, and enrich our relationships with the people that matter the most in our lives. The RealContacts app is meant to encourage actually meeting with those people and interacting with them on a more personal level.
After downloading and installing the app on your iOS device, you’ll first be asked what qualities in a person you value the most. You can choose from such options as loyalty, reliability, and spontaneity, tapping the traits that appeal to you in those that you interact with on a regular basis. You will also select some broad topics that are of interest too, including politics, sports, entertainment, and so on. These choices will play a role later as you evaluate your social interactions with your acquaintances.
Once you have made your initial selections you’ll be required to create a RealContacts account, which will in some ways resemble the basic accounts you’ve seen out of the social networks that the app is actually looking to counter. For instance, you’ll find a list of contacts – pulled automatically from your phone or entered manually – that will be at the center of interaction with the software. You’ll be able to add some basic notes to those contacts, including information on how you met, and eventually anonymous evaluations of your interactions with one another too.
What you won’t see however is an endless stream of status updates from your contacts, as the whole idea is to get that information directly from them in person. With that in mind, RealContacts allows you to quickly and easily invite a friend to meet, helping you to schedule those meetings, and even adding them to a calendar that will help you stay organized. Those meetings are at the core of what makes RealContacts work, and it is essential to helping facilitate better relationships with others.
Once the appointed time of the meeting comes, both you and your contact can “check in” to the meeting, making your relationship official within the RealContacts app. From then on, you can rate your interactions with that person, as well as how well your meetings with one another go. This will provide feedback to them as to how they are perceived by others, helping to improve social interaction as a whole. Likewise, you’ll also receive feedback from those that you meet, gaining valuable insights into how you are perceived as well. All feedback is anonymous, which should allow RalContact users to be honest and forthcoming with their evaluations and opinions.
Over time, as you make more connections through the app, and have more meetings, you should be able to not only improve your own social skills, but learn more about what your friends and business associates value in their relationships with you. Something that should prove invaluable for nurturing those relationships in the future.
The app has been available for download for several weeks, and the RealContact network is already growing. Since its release, the company has made several updates to improve features and functionality as well, helping to improve the process. But they have more plans to continue adding to it in the future, including providing support for the Apple Watch prior to its launch on April 24. RealContacts developers say that users will soon be able to check into meetings directly from their Watch and receive notifications when new contacts join the network as well.
This is a fascinating idea on the part of the RealContacts founders. It will be interesting to see how successful the app can be in breaking the bonds of social networks and helping us to establish real, meaningful relationships again.