The Problem of Social Discovery – Plenty of Fish in the Sea

March 17, 2018
Posted in Networking
March 17, 2018 Stas Borukhoff

Hey everyone, Stas Borukhoff here and the topic today is social discovery. We have all heard the phrase,”There are plenty of fish in the sea.” Well, when it comes to people, the planet certainly has plenty at 7.6 billion. Many of these people are separated into different countries, languages and cultures, but the internet and advanced translation tools are removing borders and helping people connect in ways they never could before. So with so many people all around us, why is it so hard to make real connections with the right people?

Too Many Fish in the Sea

“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” – Gina Bellman

With so many people all around us, the bigger problem is social discovery. Finding people to connect with when there are so many choices is actually really hard. Before the internet, meeting people often happened locally and by shared interactions such as working at the same place, enjoying the same hobbies, and having common friends. Your choices for who you were friends with or who you married were likely based on who you went to school with or worked with since these activities where the environments you spend the majority of your days doing.

If you have ever seen the money grab tanks where people get in a tube and air starts blowing money all around them and they have a short period of time to grab as much as they can. On the surface this seems like you would get rich, literally money floating all around you, all you have to do is grab it, but the reality is many people fail to grab much of it at all. The same holds true with connections and relationships. Most people live in cities filled with hundreds of thousands of people and yet they fail to find more than a couple great friends and many can’t even find a single strong relationship. So many choices and yet getting the result is so hard.

The Barrier of Choice

Nobody is stopping you from choosing. This is part of the problem. When you have a ton of choices you have to filter them to eliminate choices. We often think we make choices by selection, but in reality we make choices by elimination. This is especially true when it comes to making choices where there is an abundance of options. The idea of swiping right or left is founded in elimination. The problem is you are making decisions based on an image instead of the actual person. Is that even a photo of the person? The problem of catfishing was born from image and text based bios like I talked about in my post about fake people and fake profiles. If everyone fakes their profiles it gives you more good choices, which actually makes it less of a refined decision and it becomes more random as the system is gamed.

The fact is we want our choices to be narrowed down. There is a saying, “If you give them three choices they will chose nothing.” This statement is not absolute but it highlights that we are binary in nature. We like simple choices between two things: good/evil, right/left, on/off. Life gets more complicated when 3+ options are available. When people game the social media and social discovery game by fluffing their profiles or outright catfishing someone, then they make finding the right people almost impossible.

We are at ease when making choices is simplified. When it comes to technology this really matters, especially on mobile. People don’t want everything, they only want the most important things, and they want them when they need them. The problem with image profiles on apps that have tried in the past to make connections is you don’t really know who that person is based on an image or some text. Since a big part of our app is about connecting people, we decided to go video-based so you actually get a lot more information about a person before making a decision. We even integrated this into our call previews where you get a 15 second video before the call telling you who it is and what they want.

Making choices is at the heart of user experience in everything in life and especially in an app. Every feature you add is somehow tied to helping your user make choices. Since social discovery and communication is about making choices on people and conversations, we found that video gives you the information you need to not only select, but to eliminate people and conversations that aren’t a fit for you.

Nobody is Perfect

The real quality of every individual is in the imperfections. The overuse of filters, editing, and even photos from 10 years ago or of someone else altogether are driven by this feeling that you are not good enough unless you are perfect. This simply isn’t true. Real connections are made by people who embrace your imperfections and you embrace theirs. It is often the acceptance of those imperfections that allow people and relationships to blossom because people can just be themselves. The constant effort put into showcasing how amazing you and your life are on social media put a huge burden on people and increased stress. When people portray what they think others want instead of what it real they lose sight of why they got on social media in the first place. It’s the people and connections that everyone craves.

Everything has a cost. When you find yourself not trying to be something you aren’t the cost of that effort is removed and can be reinvested in the true connections and people in your life. The same holds true in hiring someone. As I wrote before about the principles of hiring freelancers, sites like Linkedin are full of fraudulent scammers with fake resumes. People overstate their skills, experience, or background or outright lie about it. In the end it is a waste of everyone’s time. They would be better using the skills they have of getting people to take action and earn honest money with them instead of trying to rip people off with them.

Finding the Right Fish

The problem with plenty of fish in the sea is you only need one. In the same way that search engines took millions of possible results and ranked them so you can find the one that you most likely will want, there needs to be a way that allows people to find people that are what they are actually looking for. Technology has attempted to help, but in many ways it has failed. They increased the efficiency, but failed to make sure the profiles were accurate. They didn’t solve the plenty of fish in the sea problem because they used the wrong format. I think we got this one right and that is why we built MobiLine app, a place for people to be discovered and connect.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please leave your thoughts below in the comments and give it a share if you found it valuable. How do you think too many choices has affected the ability for people to connect and meet new people? You can also check out more posts from me by searching Stas Borukhoff on Medium. Thanks

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Stas Borukhoff

CEO and Founder of MobiLine App. Among other things I am an entrepreneur, developer, and VOIP expert. I also enjoy chess!


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