Social Movement Encourages Real-World Interaction with Tech-World Metrics

Click here to view original web page at
Social Movement Encourages Real-World Interaction with Tech-World Metrics
Arts & Culture Tweet Share

Branch Out Movement is taking modern approach to traditional communication—using tech to get people to connect "the good, ole fashioned way"

Over the past decade, technology use has become to take precedence over face-to-face interactions. Burying our faces in social media, e-mail, e-news, and mobile applications might satisfying, but the satisfaction is only short-term, and the opportunity cost is greater than we often realize. The effects are felt worldwide, but resistance to this new norm has been sporadic, which is why the Branch Out Movement is working to re-inforce traditional communication in order to enhance social experiences.

Upon signing up for the movement, users are given a bracelet that serves as a conversation piece and reinforces one’s commitment to “re-connect in the real, physical world.” But the bracelet is merely a symbol for the concept—a starting point for making real interactions a reality.

branch out movement

At the core of the movement are weekly social challenges that members participate in. Branch Out’s weekly email points out unique opportunities for members to interact with those around them, prompting users to “take someone’s picture for them,” or even “set someone up in a conversation to make them look good.”

The challenges are a way of further encouraging specific ways in which to branch out and randomly interact. Some are wackier than others, but we hope to provide fun and unique openers to be more present in the world around us.

The users can then track their progress on a digital dashboard which uses stats, points, virtual medals and social sharing to encourage further participation and spread awareness. The use of technology to further the cause is pretty ironic, but co-founders Cory Shea and Alan Liao explain their strategy quite simply.

As with anything, the Internet can be an amazing place to raise awareness. So why not raise awareness about our obsession with the beast itself?

In the coming months, the movement will even ‘infiltrate the problem at the source’ with an app that essentially discourages its own use.

If a Branch Out member is commuting to work on the bus or subway, staring at his or her phone, (as is tradition), a notification might pop up that instructs the user to ask a stranger for a song or book recommendation. Given our ever decreasing attention spans, they’re going to be much more likely to act on it right then and there.

For the Branch Out Movement to be successful, members must take a proactive approach to knocking down digital barriers. The social challenges are a means of accomplishing this, and they are essential for generating the unexpected opportunities that so often arise from face-to-face interaction.