You thought Facebook is the largest social network? Here’s how I’ll prove you wrong :)

As a former psychology student, I’m always interested in understanding the evolution of user behavior with the changing times & technology. And my all-time favorite topic has been the evolution of internet. It is hard to believe that the internet was originally built to connect documents together. Interestingly, with time, it evolved to connect people as well. And, before one could even realize, it became an indispensable part of our lives.

Since the time social networks have taken over the world, we’ve become less connected to the real world. So much so that we don’t even find the need to talk to the person sitting beside us as we are already busy chatting with someone else over our cellphones. Has social media driven us apart more than connecting us? Has it limited our circle of trustworthy friends rather than expanding it? Has it made us more cautious about making new friends than we were earlier?

While I was still pondering over these questions the other day on my way to office, I bumped upon an ad displayed on one of the social networks (ironically). It was a ride sharing mobile application called Ryde, a new venture by Ibibo Group. As I was already looking for a viable option for my daily commute from home to office, it caught my attention and I downloaded it. I booked a seat for the next day and found out that there were three other people who had also booked a seat with me. It was the first time that I was opting for ride-sharing so I was a little nervous. I discussed it with my friends over whatsapp and they got a little apprehensive too and warned me to be careful. Nonetheless I reached for my pick up on time and my scheduled car also arrived at the destination just a couple of minutes later.

I was greeted by a middle-aged man who was on the driver’s seat, a teenage boy on the seat beside him & two ladies sitting at the back. Apparently, this was their fifth or sixth ride sharing experience using the application. As we began our journey to work, I discovered that one of the passengers worked in one of the offices in the same complex where my workplace was. It was quite surprising for me as I had never fathomed the thought of knowing more about people other than my office colleagues. We shared quite a rapport throughout the journey and ended up promising each other to meet up for lunch the same day.

The teenager sitting in the car told us about the features and technology of the car we were sitting in. It was quite obvious that he was a total car enthusiast and he claimed to have thousands of car magazines at his home. Interesting, isn’t it? The owner of our car was a pediatrician who told us about the perks and challenges of his profession. It was so heart-warming to hear about his love for children and the fact that he has even adopted a child from the foster home so that he can give her a good life.

With every person in my car having one or the other interesting story to tell about their life, I felt like the least interesting person in the whole group. But I genuinely had a great experience after a long time with people. Reality was so much more refreshing than the virtual world. This is what I call the real life social network — with real feelings, stories & most of all, warmth.
I have always believed that humans are better at socializing in person rather than being confined in the interface of a website. And thanks to Ryde, this ride-sharing experience further substantiated my belief. I don’t guarantee that you’ll always meet interesting people on your way, but I would truly recommend all my friends and family to try out ride sharing at least once in their life. It’ll definitely change your perception about others.

Meanwhile, spotted another article on a user’s experience with Ryde, check it out!

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