After a few hours of trawling through articles, social media and videos of cats, you might begin to think that the internet is a lonely place.
Yet the truth is that companionship is never more than a few clicks and login details away. Online communities have been sprouting up quickly across all corners of the web, from gaming to dating and plenty of places in between. It’s no surprise given the increasing amount of time we all spend in front of our PC, laptop or smartphone screen. People remain innately social creatures after all, so it makes sense that we seek out friends and support in whatever space we spend our time.
Online communities have also been benefitted by advances in mobile technology, real-time communication and instant messaging. Connecting with others on a daily basis has never been easier, and it’s even giving certain companies a competitive edge within their industry. Here are a few examples of where being social is proving to be an attractive prospect.
Casinos & iGaming
The rise of the iGaming industry has sky-rocketed in recent years, with many experts estimating a global market worth of £50 billion at the end of last year. In such a competitive market, companies are looking to make their gaming experience as immersive as possible in order to stand out from the crowd.
Online operators like Genesis have committed to building a live casino offering that puts social interaction at the heart of gameplay. Players now have the ability to chat to live dealers in real time, building a connection with certain hosts as well as other people playing alongside them. It’s a totally different world compared to the computerised blackjack tables and roulette wheels of days gone by – and much more social. All you have to do is create an account, join a table and get chatting to the person sitting next to you.
The live-streaming community
It used to be the case that video games were a simple pastime shared between one, two or maybe even four people at a time. In fact, if you weren’t playing yourself then sitting around and watching other people play wasn’t exactly a thrilling prospect. Oh, how times have changed.
The growth of online streaming platforms like Twitch has seen an incredible shift in the way people enjoy gaming, whilst also connecting fans of a certain game on a whole new level. Now that the world’s best gamers can broadcast their in-game skills to thousands, if not millions, of fans worldwide, it has naturally created a whole host of new communities happy to sit back, watch and discuss. And it really is a community, and those that stay active and contribute to other channels are those that eventually build a strong streaming audience themselves!
Next generation dating
The rules of dating have evolved a lot over the past few decades, and it’s never been easier to strike up a conversation with someone special as part of an online dating community. Sites like Match, Plenty of Fish and eHarmony are all big players in the scene, and each is constantly trying to improve their system and algorithms in order to bring more like-minded people together.
But there are also a whole host of young guns – Tinder, Bumble, Grindr – that are taking a big share away from the more traditional communities. Right or wrong, these apps are enabling more fast-paced interaction between people looking to find companionship online. They are built around convenience, available to download in under a minute and seem to fit the needs of the younger generation quite well. Where do we go from here? Only time will tell.