Groove With Us
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Groove With Us

Product Design for Creating Authentic Connection Online

What we’ve learned so far

  • Linkedin is easy to blast for being boring and cringey. But (spam messages aside) its surprisingly straightforward and non-addictive algorithms made it highly valuable for me in finding clients and meeting interesting professional contacts.
  • Instagram only ever gave me performance anxiety.
  • Clubhouse started out a fantastic place for making authentic connections and then every audio room became a 3 hour pitch-fest, with a few exceptions.
  • Twitter for me equals ‘art twitter’. By only spending time there with certain kinds of artists and their work, I am building real friendships, especially in small audio rooms where my friends introduce me to their friends.
  • BeReal and Polywork: shiny and fun, but the jury’s still out.

Building towards authentic connection

  1. Fostering 1:1 or small-group dynamics synchronously and asynchronously. Are participants mentally / emotionally present for each other while the (short) interaction is happening. Does the interface allow them to listen to one another without distraction? That’s what we’re going for.
  2. Actively encouraging a positive and supportive culture between people, which includes: showing up to regroup at the end of a Groove (that boost of accountability!), listening when others speak, not talking for too long or oversharing, not selling or pitching to others.
  3. Being direct and transparent about boundaries regarding these norms, and letting people know about them. It’s hard to support healthy behaviors unless everyone knows what they are, and most of the time when people don’t adhere to positive norms, they’re doing it unintentionally (sometimes because another platform has taught them to behave a certain way).

A case study in pink boxes

On our app, a pink box around your video in video chat means it’s your turn to share your goals. It would just stay there until you pressed the button within the frame to pass the mic to the next person in line to speak. But we had complaints that people felt they didn’t know how long to speak for and that they were having a hard time staying short and sweet. Others were reporting that they felt some people were oversharing and wasting their time, possibly unintentionally.

Ongoing questions

Another thing we’re learning is that almost nobody wants to be solely defined by their professional qualifications when they meet new people (which is not surprising!). While many online platforms or even communities may use these labels to better define and match people, it creates a pressure to perform that isn’t fun. It’s still to be determined how we’ll building a system that manages to match people up with others they can form authentic connections with — while at the same time not cramming whole human beings into square pegs (or however the analogy goes). We’re up for the challenge, though, and hope that you are too.

Looking for more Groovy Content? Check these out:

  1. Authentic human connection powers our best work (and lives)
  2. You Don’t Need Coworking, You Need Camaraderie
  3. Or, start getting sh*t done the fun way at groove.ooo 🕺🏼

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Tova Safra

Tova is a product designer, artist and researcher currently building Groove. Hop on in at Groove.ooo