At OTR, we kind of chuckle at the phrase “social media,” because, in reality, social media is not an inherently social thing. Sure, we post photos of ourselves being social, hanging out with others, eating meals, taking dog pics, but consuming social media content sometimes ends up consuming us. And although we’re sometimes labeled a “hyper-social” society, our relationship with digital socialization leaves us hungry for real human contact.
In events,we try to give people experiences that are one of a kind, and more recently, that means providing ways to genuinely connect with others. we try to give people experiences that are one of a kind, and more recently, that means providing ways to genuinely connect with others.
Today, at OTR, we find that successful events are ones where social interactions aren’t forced (no one wants to be pushed into doing a trust fall). Events that encourage guests to play, chat, and even get their hands dirty win every time. We love catalyzing conversations and watching people bond over cooking, painting, or learning to make a cocktail. These events leave guests satisfied and feeling enriched, not just socially, practical skills that can be taken away into their lives. Our friend Malik works for one of the companies changing the game in the event/real life connections space; Summit where guests experience activations rich in the content people crave, face time, and enriching shared experiences.
In a practical sense, these events are great for people who need to network and make business contacts, but have a tough time breaking the ice. There’s nothing worse for an introvert than having to force yourself to get up the courage to introduce yourself to someone and fumble your way through small talk. But when you’re standing around a table together mixing drinks or working side-by-side toward cooking an adventurous meal, the small talk flows more organically, and you don’t have to worry about all the pre-event anxiety or practicing your, “Yes I am listening and very interested,” smile and nod. In essence, this takes the fear out of networking, which, at least for many of us, is a necessary evil. Mashable recently featured an excellent piece about this very thing, which you can check out here.
It has been said that people who connect with others lead happier, longer lives. But what we forget is that connecting via social media isn’t the same as making a face-to-face connection with others. You will not gain lasting happiness through Facebook Messenger, Instagram, texts, or Snapchat, but you will gain happiness through the organic connections you make when attending events that are designed to encourage social interaction.
This is why, at many OTR events, you’ll roll up your sleeves, pair up with people you don’t know, and get to work on something that encourages real-life bonding.We won’t discourage Instagramming your creations, though. That would just be silly.