Neptune Navigate Blog

Tips for online safety, security, and responsible digital citizenship for parents, kids, and families.

It’s Time to Hang Up and Hang Out

June 28, 2021

When social media made its entrance, the mission was to make the world more open and connected.  While it’s true that social media does provide a certain amount of connection with other people, I think we can all admit there is something lacking. For example, I know all about my friend’s vacation, her child’s graduation, and her favorite food but I haven’t seen her or talked to her face to face in 3 months. You see, there’s a difference between “knowing someone” and “knowing about someone.” In this case, I know a lot about my friend from her social media feed without ever having to talk to her in person. With social media, we only get a snapshot of someone’s life and wrongly interpret that as being connected to them.  Nigel Davis, a 24 year old from Palm Beach, Florida recognized this disconnect and took a new approach to social media. Nigel works at Microsoft as a software engineer, but in his personal time, he created the social media platform Grapevine Campus. Initially the app was designed for college students to find out about events on campus. When the Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of social events all over college campuses, Grapevine Campus evolved from an event-based social media platform to creating online communities such as “foodies” or  “black culture” which allowed students to connect with each other based on common interests.  His goal was to have people meet in the digital world and then move that interaction into the real world, which would also address mental health issues and isolation among college students. “Social media is a thing a lot of people are trying to detox from, and we don’t want you to be spending 20 hours of your day scrolling through a feed. We want you to get on Grapevine, connect with somebody, and take it off the platform and connect in real life,” he said.  Here’s the takeaway, the pandemic forced us into virtual school, virtual work, and virtual relationships.  Relationships and connectedness are vital to our emotional and mental health and can’t be replaced by someone’s feed we read online.  I think it’s time that we become intentional about transitioning our friendships from the digital world into the real world. Nigel has seen first- hand the positive impact Grapevine Campus has had on college students and plans to add more college campuses in Florida.