Always when you start to feel at home, the end is coming. Next week my internship ends. I haven’t written so many blogs when in Spain. Shortly said, my life here has been amazing and a challenge at the same time.
Amazing because I love my internship at Vicente Gandia: the people are very nice, I join visits from Dutch customers to the vineyard Hoya de Cadenas, which is super cool; I love Valencia: the weather is perfect, the food is amazing, the city is beautiful, the culture is interesting etcétera etcétera (I can go on for a while). But it also is a challenge because my social network, as in friends, isn’t that big as it is in the Netherlands or in England. I found out that I don’t like to be alone. Therefore, a few weeks ago, I decided that it was time to ‘give myself a kick under the ass’ (like you can say it in Dutch) and do something about it.
I signed up for the application Meet Up Valencia, it works like this: based on your interests you enter a group, for instance I joined: ‘Chicas Valencia’, ‘Ashtanga Yoga’, ‘Comida Ecologica’, ‘Language Exchange Spanish-English’ and more. Those groups organize Meet Ups, as in brunches, meetings, classes etc. The idea is that you meet people, you normally wouldn’t meet, and it really works!
I really like this idea of Social Media, or technology, bringing people together and making us more social instead of more anti-social. Instead of staring at your phone all the time actually talking to each other. This is, I think, how Social Media is meant: to serve as a medium and not a goal in itself. There are a lot of other applications similar to the MeetUp app with a lot of opportunities that were never possible before. Such as: Couchsurfing – where you can stay with locals and meet travelers for free, Blablacar -where you can share a car with people that go to the same place as you, and yes you can even name dating apps like Tinder – where you can meet people close to you based on whether you like each other’s photo. Imagine how someone would have responded to that 10 years ago!
Backstrom et al‘s research shows that you are connected to any individual on Facebook just 4 chain lengths (people) away! Of course there are also negative aspects of social media, when you use it with negative intentions. But I think it is important to focus on the ability it has to serve as medium for bringing people together and creating an offline community. Adiós!