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How ironic that technology used to bring us closer together has brought those of us who are physically close together, farther apart. A study conducted in 2014 by Virginia Tech University reported: “the presence of mobile technologies has the potential to divert individuals from face-to-face exchanges, thereby undermining the character and depth of these connections.” Flashgap also conducted their own study that yielded similar results. “The study, conducted by Flashgap, a photo-sharing application with more than 150,000 users, found that 87 percent of millennials admitted to missing out on a conversation because they were distracted by their phone” (CNBC).

Social media is making face-to-face encounters increasingly more difficult. Imagine, sitting in a trendy coffee shop on a Friday afternoon. You just graduated college with a degree in photography. You’ve been trying to get your name out there, but you just haven’t gotten enough opportunities to justify quitting your totally unrelated, minimum wage job. There are so many people going in and out of this coffee shop, surely one of them needs a photographer for school photos, headshots, wedding photos, something. You’re itching to go talk to someone, and just ask, but how awkward would that be, and how desperate would that make you look, you wonder. If only there was a way to read people’s minds, or at least to see who needs the skill set you have to offer. You sigh, and just go back to scrolling through Instagram, wishing you had the reach your favorite pages had.

We’re all guilty of using social media as a clutch to avoid awkward social encounters, but what if we could use social media as a tool to take away the tinge of awkwardness that makes us avoid those initial encounters? Imagination time part 2. You’re back at that same coffee shop, this time you decided to download that new app you’ve been hearing people talk about called PEEKaMEET. You’re a freelance photographer wanting to build your profile. After working on your computer for a while you check back in and notice a new message. Someone has contacted you asking if you do wedding photography. She happens to be at the Chipotle just across the street, so you agree to meet up in 30 min, and just like that, you’ve expanded your network and there was never an awkward moment.

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