LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Seven in ten Americans use social media regularly. Chances are you have more than one site you frequent with new ones popping up each day, but do you feel fulfilled? Is it possible to get more out of your online life?
Good Day Las Vegas Anchor Heather Mills had a look at a new app aiming to do just that.
Our phones are almost like an appendage. When boredom creeps in, the first thing you may be inclined to do is scroll, but what are you getting out of that? And is there a way to make it more social?
Whitney Greco is a UNLV student who, like most of us, is on social media. Greco grew up with it. For her, it’s normal.
“I’m on TikTok or something, and then I will follow them on Instagram or something,” Greco said. “And then I am super into their lives. I’m like, I don’t even know them, why am I so involved?”
However, as Greco prepares for graduate school, even she acknowledges being plugged in all the time means you may be actually missing out.
“You’re so connected in tons of different ways. You have to, for your mental health, just take a breather.”
Seems simple enough, but even better could be curating your use and your bubble.
“Keeping our networks tighter helps encourage that if I am browsing, it’s a little bit more localized,” Doctor Natalie Pennington, an Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at UNLV said.
Pennington has researched multiple aspects of social media, but can she answer the now age-old question: is social media bad or good?
“Social media was not good, but social media was not bad,” Pennington explained. “It just kind of was.”
In her words, it all depends on how you use it.
“I don’t think that social media makes us more anti-social.”
Pennington said you can localize it and actively interact.
That’s what the developers of the new app “Playsee” are hoping you’ll do.
“We also want to bring social back to social media,” Veronica Lin, User Experiences and Communication at Playsee, said. “We want people to be able to foster real-life connections.”
It’s community-centric. Your feed is your location.
“Everything is about your community and contributed by your community.”
The goal is to foster new relationships within your neighborhood. That could mean a new spot to eat or a shop to visit. It is an inspiration at home.
“Forty-nine percent of people, after looking at things on social media and having interactions online, went to these places in real life,” Lin explained.
Pennington said even what you may consider a minor interaction, such as a store clerk or a barista, can have a positive impact.
“Just interacting with strangers can be really fulfilling in our day.”
And that can start with social media.
“Playsee was developed with the idea that people have the desire to connect locally,” Lin said.
Pennington said there is some instant gratification in likes and follows, but called that passive use a “social snack.”
“It’s empty calories. A couple of hours later, I didn’t actually talk to anyone, so I didn’t get anything.”
Scrolling through something hyper-local may allow you to see things, do things, and perhaps meet people in person you wouldn’t have otherwise.
“In a recent survey that we actually conducted, fifty-nine percent of people who use social media actually have arranged a meeting.”
While unplugging may also be good, Greco said it’ll take a cultural shift to understand it’s ok to put it away.
“I feel like when you do turn it off, people get mad,” Greco explained. “Why are you ignoring me?”
Playsee has 50 million users and is still growing. They couldn’t say how many are here in Southern Nevada but say they are focused on remaining hyper-local.