Pokémon GO! It’s all the rage right now! Usually when we talk about the social side of things we mean social media; Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram. Yes, there’s been plenty of social media stir about Pokémon GO but I want to talk about socialization in the form of speaking real words in real-time to people who you can physically reach out and high-five.
What a concept, right? I am so excited about what this game has already done for people (including myself, proud Pokémon geek since the late 90’s.) So many happy stories about getting out and about, lessening social anxiety and depression, and just people laughing and having fun again. Pokémon GO has inspired some serious improvements in people’s quality of life in one short week.
Let’s talk about some of the simple ways this game, should you choose to accept it, will enhance your social life!
- Leaving the house. Just getting up and getting out of the house makes me feel more human. It’s also the first step on your road to recovery from a life of muscle atrophy, text-neck, and eye strain. While it is possible to catch a few monsters without leaving couch, being the very best -like no one ever was- requires you to leave the comfort of your Netflix Dungeon and trek around. Grab your allergy medicine and get going!
- Meeting up with friends. You have something in common with people! The game takes the stress off of interaction because it’s still an individual endeavor. There’s no time limit you’re required to stay and play, you don’t have to compete the entire time. You don’t have to talk a ton, and you don’t have to come up with interesting topics because LOOK! A BLASTOISE! *runs away*
- The only money you spend is on your data plan overages. Going out with friends can be very expensive! The first things that come to mind when planning an evening out are dinner, drinks, movies, shopping, and plenty of other options with a price tag. Plan a Pokémon GO outing instead of a night on the town and your wallet will thank you (unless you’re going over on your data, not recommended.)
- Spend more time outdoors. Walk your dog! Go to a park! Play frisbee while you wait for the Lure to expire! Do laps on the jogging track with an active Incense and let the Pokémon come to you! See new parts of town! Try a new restaurant! Soak up some Vitamin D!
- Re-learn the lost art of striking up a conversation with strangers. We as humans have been over-complicating this concept forever. For some reason as adults we think it’s somehow not okay to start a friendly conversation with a stranger. We duck our heads when we pass someone on the sidewalk, we don’t say anything when we hear them talking about something interesting, we don’t answer the question they asked out loud and we know the answer to. Pokémon GO creates an opportunity for us to have positive interactions with strangers and maybe realize everyone’s not so bad after all.
Now let’s take a moment to address the opposition to this trend. We’re a week into the game and there are already hundreds of articles out about terrible accidents, robberies, and other tomfoolery attributed to this game. To you I say: these instances are not the majority! It’s pretty obvious that most Pokémon GOers are staying safe. There are over 21 MILLION daily active users. DAILY.
Every tool and technology has the potential to cause harm or put us in danger. And there is ALWAYS a small portion of the population who ruins the fun for the rest of us by disregarding common sense or cultural norms. I’m looking at you party-going chip double-dippers! That’s why there are warning labels and instructions on EVERYTHING now. So if you see an individual that seems to be exhibiting reckless Pokémon GO behaviors, don’t be afraid to tell them! It’s for the good of the masses.
Now get out there and Catch ‘Em ALL!