A funny thing happens when you spend too much time connecting with people on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, says Greylock Partners venture capital investor Josh Elman.
You start to feel more disconnected from the world around you, thanks to an ever-growing roster of friends and acquantancies you don’t actually know that well. And it can eat into the time you spend with the people you care about, fostering meaningful relationships.
“We’re becoming more alone rather than more together,” Elman says.
It’s why he thinks apps like Snapchat and live streaming app Meerkat — where he sits on the board — have taken off in such a big way. Even though you’re on your phones in different rooms (or across the globe), you’re interacting in a way that brings you into the same moment together. He calls it “the live Internet.”
“I bet on this idea of togetherness,” Elman says. “I don’t think there’s enough.”
In other words, he says that there aren’t a whole lot of apps that focus on bringing people together, apart from maybe local apartment building social network NextDoor (another company on which he holds a board seat), which means there’s a ton of room for startups to come in and come up with new ways to bring people together.
It’s something Elman knows a little about: He got his start working on consumer web services at RealNetworks, a dot-com era streaming video company. Even back then, live streaming video like Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope was definitely part of the plan.
“I don’t know what the next thing is that looks like that, but it’s coming,” Elman says.