Couchsurfing VS Facebook – Which is more important to Social Media?

I was reflecting on how when I first launched the Social Media Adventure over 2 years ago, I wasn’t really doing anything new… to me at least.

The concept of traveling around the world to meet people for the purpose of forming & strengthening relationships was something that I, as well as many others, I’m sure, have been doing even before the advent of Facebook & Twitter.

Better Than Being Interviewed On TV

My adopted little sister interviewed me recently for a report she had to do for high school. This report was supposed to be about someone who lived in a different generation… (how’s that to make me feel old?)  She wanted to know more about why I set out to travel across the country and meet all these people that I had only previously connected with through Social Media.

It struck me that 15 years earlier I made an identical journey… with far less technology.

1996 – The First Adventure… Hitch-hiking

In the summer of 1996, three days after I graduated high school, I took at backpack and a tent and started hitchhiking for the East Coast. My first ride was a classic VW micro bus, and it would start me on my way to meet my pen pal Zoë, who I previously had only known through letters. (The first form of social media, perhaps?)

Back in those days, I couldn’t use Facebook or Twitter to see who was in each town along the way, I had to do it the old fashioned way. Many a night were spent on the couches of generous drivers who wanted to shelter this skinny hitch-hiker from the rain. (Also, many a night were spent in the rain…)

2004 – The Advent of a Better Way

Making friends while traveling would change forever in 2004…

Couchsurfing Logo

A better world, one couch at a time

Yes, Facebook was launched this year, but what I’m really talking about is

CouchSurfing is a very simple social network with a humorous, but potentially powerful mission and invitation:

Participate in creating a better world, one couch at a time.

The concept is simple:

  • If you have a spare couch, lend it to a traveler in need for a day or two
  • If you are a traveler, search for a benevolent couch owner who wants to share
  • Meet other travelers in the area, from across the world, to make new friends and create adventures

Technology Reminding Us Of Simpler Days

Couchsurfing Community

It’s a simple idea, but it carries a profound reminder of simpler times. Days when we didn’t have to lock our front door, days when we could pick up a stranger and give them a ride, days when we didn’t have to worry about the neighbor stalking us or chopping us up into pieces.

Couchsurfing does a great job of reminding us of those simpler times, but also taking some intelligent security measures to keep users safe from today’s potential perils. Members of the site get to rate the other couchsurfers & hosts they meet and comment on how well they know them, how they met and how they would rate their trust-worthiness. Members also leave comments and/or endorsements on other members they have met, giving new users an idea of what to expect from each person they might meet.

I’ve met a bunch of people on my adventure to Costa Rica by using that have made my trip exciting. Watch for their stories in the coming weeks… :)




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