It was one of those weeks. You know, a week where the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, your least favorite customer came in three times, and your boss just wouldn’t quit breathing down your neck. But at least it’s over; you finally made it to Friday.
You’re supposed to go out on the town and blow off some steam with your buddies, but you get a text from Dave and find out your plans fell through. It’s already 8:00 PM. You begin staring blankly at your Facebook hoping for something to happen.
Well, as usual, nothing happens except for a few pointless status updates and profile picture changes. 10:00 PM rolls around. You turn off the TV and decide to go to sleep, thinking about how you wasted another Friday night.
Listen, I have good news. This never has to be you again. There are plenty of online avenues to help you make your night a memorable one — you just have to take the time to look.
First, try Yelp and see what’s in your area, especially if you already have some ideas as to what you’re looking for. You can search by area code and filter through various categories, such as: food, coffee, dinner, spa, night life etc. You can even filter through businesses and events that are accessible by metro, or within walking distance from your apartment. Best of all, each listing contains a 5-point rating system from real-life visitors so you can make sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Eventful has one of the most comprehensive selections to fulfill your local entertainment appetite — find out what’s happening in your area with ease. They list everything from movies, concerts, and sports to family fun and nightlife. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can even demand an event to come directly to your city.
If you’re looking for a good deal, be sure to check Groupon on the reg. Every day there are new “group coupons” available for the best stuff to do, see and eat. Grab some of your friends, save money and share great experiences. It’s like the Costco of event planning.
Another site, Goby, operates like a search engine focused on giving you fun things to do with your free time. Simply fill in what you’d like to do, where’d you’d like to do it, and when. You’re a few clicks away from creating this weekend’s adventure.
A similar website, A Day’s Outing, offers their services with a simple tagline: “get out and go.” Find fairs, events for family and children, parks, gardens, theatre, museums, antiques, farms and more. A Day’s Outing will help find events near you, whether you’re starting from home or on the road.
And with the addition of Zaarly, your options are pretty much unlimited. Pretend you wanted to go to a concert, basketball game, or movie but the tickets were completely sold out. No need to worry anymore. Post on Zaarly: “I’m willing to pay (X) amount of money for tickets to (Y)”. You choose your price and people near you make it happen.
You never have to waste another Friday night again.
According to the Facebook statistic page, there are currently more than 500 million active Facebook users. Simply by posting a picture and writing a bio, people create their viral “self,” and interact with “friends” behind a computerized screen through the tips of our fingers. They relay messages through comments, status updates, and chat box messages, totaling over 700 billion minutes per month.
Some argue that’s a lot of time spent without actual human contact, maybe too much time. They worry these actions could lead to a generation of isolation, where individuals who no longer value face-to-face communication; where individuals are no longer “connected” to each other.
I, however, beg to differ.
Although we may be interacting increasingly on an online platform, that doesn’t have to mean we are headed towards isolation. It goes without saying that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, give people the opportunity to instantly communicate with loved ones, and keep in touch with the high school buddies they thought they’d never see again. But it goes further than that.
As a generation, we now have the ability to instantly communicate with someone on the other side of the world. If time travel is the quickest way from point A to point B, then social networking users may be bending time and space without even knowing it. Add in Google Translate, and this opens up an endless amount of possibilities in terms of learning about other cultures and expanding our self-consciousness. Breaking down language barriers is unarguably a step towards global connectedness.
Social networking sites also give us the ability to let family members and loved ones know we are “OK” in the case of an emergency, especially if unreliable phone lines and methods of transportation aren’t accessible. In fact, in the case of the most recent Japan Tsunami, social networking is reported to have saved many lives.
The 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Fukushima power plant left thousands of people dead and many more missing. The disaster demolished buildings and rail lines, left telephone networks congested, and caused electrical black outs, cutting off communication between those who needed it the most.
However, by utilizing web-based sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Mixi, people all around the world were able to get instant updates on the statuses of friends and family, as well as donate to those in need. Those involved in relief efforts even took to Twitter and posted information about emergency phone lines for non-Japanese speakers to tsunami alerts, altered train schedules and lists of shelters for those left homeless.
As technology advances, we will continue to realize the Internet’s potential as a way to connect humans and put power back in their hands.
This is especially the case with the new buyer and seller market-oriented website Zaarly. With Zaarly, users are able to find what they want in their area, say their price, and get it. There’s no waiting in line and no managers trying to sell you what you don’t need. Users utilize a Twilio powered phone number to connect instantly, get what they ask for, and get on with their day. It’s that easy.
Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Current Analysis, agrees. We are connected:
“While there are so many technologies at this time that isolate us from our fellow beings, social networking tools have shown their ability once again to unify us as human beings, and to bring out what is most altruistic and empathetic in our natures.”