The Local Chat Paradox

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Some people are aghast when introduced to BuzzIt for the first time. Their reaction goes something like this:

So you’re telling me that people should use their phones talk to people where they are? Are there not enough reasons people are glued to their phones and not interacting with the people around them? Why can’t they just talk to people?”

There’s a lot of truth within that; people spend too much time tuned in to what’s happening elsewhere and perpetually fail to be present in the moment. But, people that ask the question have misunderstood what problem BuzzIt is solving, and thus how it can help.

In situations where direct communication is possible, the problem is not that people can’t talk to each other; it’s that, too often, they don’t talk to each other. Why is it this way? There are many possible answers: maybe they’re shy; maybe they think their idea is not worth interrupting someone; maybe they fear backlash from authority; or maybe they fear judgment because they think their opinion is in the minority. Whatever the reason, BuzzIt will help by providing an easy way around any hang up.

But, BuzzIt will be at its best when even the most outgoing person would be unable to spread the most exciting message. One example would be in the audience at a talk, where speaking to everyone is simply not an option. A second example would be a busy event, where getting to everyone directly is impossible. Here as well, BuzzIt will make sharing with everyone as easy as texting one person.

What we see as paradoxical is that by using the most distracting device ever created, we will be helping users become more engaged and more present in all of these situations. To take it a step further, BuzzIt may even help users put down their phones and have more conversations in real life. It’s counter-intuitive but the logic is simple; engaging with others in a shared experience will help users find that they have things in common; finding shared interests, values and beliefs is how humans build trust; trust in each other makes us feel confident; and confidence is what we need to be creative, to take risks, and to feel comfortable approaching someone new.

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