BIRMINGHAM: Events and event planning are evolving into new, dynamic formats. Old models are falling away and technology is giving both planners and event participants an opportunity to grow and revisit the underlying ideas about how event spaces work.
It seems pretty obvious to most observers that our social networks have changed in the past few decades thanks to technology. The widespread use of cell phones, the increasing affordability of air travel, the rise of the Internet, and the advent of social media have changed the way we work, the way we live, and the way we make and maintain friendships.
For some, this is cause for concern. We are, perhaps, too wired—more attuned to events and friends thousands of miles away than to what’s going on right in front of our faces, more likely to share cat videos over smart phones than to play catch in our backyards. Perhaps these technological changes are compelling us to withdraw from the physical world, promoting antisocial behavior and undermining our true relationships.
What’s more, the on-line world is not truly distinct from the off-line one. We use the Internet and social media largely to stay in touch and make plans with people we already know from face-to-face relationships. Email and social media communications aren’t better or worse than in-person ones; they’re just different. And they complement each other.
More recently, though, the rise of personal cell phones and social media has allowed us to stay in touch with other individuals regardless of location. This, according to Wellman, is “networked individualism.” We no longer require homes, offices, or cafes to stay in touch with people; we can do it wherever we happen to be.