(Is all social networking within apps, or are apps supposed to take us to social networking places?)

Places of worship were the original networking sites – where alliances were made, pleasantries were exchanged, bitter feuds were forgiven, and divine gossip was encouraged. 

Since the days of worship were fixed, there was no need to send special invites to a gathering. People came and still come of their own volition – now they look at their phones and not at each other’s faces.

What are the other social networking sites other than the local tavern and the publican’s brew – a cocktail of the latest news and wicked victuals? What about LitFests? I was fortunate enough to meander into one and discovered an accordion sized pamphlet that announced the various speakers across multiple stages on a large manicured lawn, vying for attention with the food stalls. Imagine going through the folder and marking the time and venues you wished to be at and remembering to keep looking at the program sheet to make sure that you were where you wanted to be. Fortunately, all this has now been made simpler through an invite app that provides the schedule and helps us manage our calendar and alerts.

How else could one let other like-minded folks know that the city’s finest were at a panel discussion or your favourite author was making mincemeat of Shakespeare who seemed to have sprouted several Bollywood run-away hits?

At an art festival or even an exclusive viewing of the most upcoming talent at an exclusive gallery, replete with charming hostess, cheese and aged wine – how does one come by this evening, understand the form of the art, the artist, and know whom one is rubbing shoulders with, by the canvas or twisted metal that is making a strident statement?

Now we have the means to know more about these social networking events in advance. We can, and we should get reminders to put on appropriate clothes and wear an appropriate smile to such social gatherings. And we should make full use of the facility to share these events among friends, colleagues, and peers to let them join in the experience and also to let them know that one has arrived on the social stage. 

WhatsApp fails. It only chats. Facebook doesn’t cut ice. LinkedIn is for job seekers. nooi would perhaps make the grade. nooi – the invite app. I discovered it quite by chance and have not had much occasion to use it. However, I foresee a time when it becomes de rigueur in every event manager’s repertoire and it becomes the go-to-app for those seeking to socially network – in the real world. I would encourage this new age tool to bring life back to the good old social networking sites – the art gallery, the concert hall, the manicured lawn and the wedding and reception – which is where we really network, socially.

Sridharan Narayan

Independent writer & social evangelist

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