trendwatching.com notes: As predicted by digital gurus more than a decade ago, hundreds of millions of people are now living large parts of their lives online (and lovin’ it!). However, this has not turned entire generations into homebound, anti-social zombies (another popular forecast). Au contraire: social media and mobile communications are fueling a MASS MINGLING that defies every cliché about diminished human interaction in our ‘online era’.

So (for now), forget a future in which the majority of consumers lose themselves in virtual worlds, with cities dying and kids never seeing the light of day; expect people to mingle and meet up like there’s no tomorrow. A definition:

MASS MINGLING | Thanks to the online revolution, hundreds of millions are now actively searching for, finding, connecting/signaling, and staying in touch with likeminded souls in the virtual world. Constant updates, GPS and mobile online access is now bringing this explosion of dating, networking, socializing and mingling to the real world domain.

Read what driving this trend, in more detail.

Some numbers:

  • Twitter: 100 million+ users, with 50 million tweets sent each day.
  • Facebook : nearing 500 million users. The average user has 130 friends, spends 55 minutes a day on the site and receives three “event invitations” to real-life gatherings every month (in December 2009, the company stated that 3.5 million events were created every month). Next? According to The New York Times, Facebook will soon incorporate ‘location’ in two ways: its own features for sharing location and APIs to let other sites and apps offer location services to Facebook users. This could well be a MASS MINGLING killer app.
  • LinkedIn : over 65 million members. A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second.
  • A ‘veteran’ MASS MINGLING engine like Meetup has 6.1 million members, handling 2.2 million RSVPs and 180,000 meet-ups, in 45,000 cities a month.
  • Foursquare has one million users, while Gowalla: 150,000 users.
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of online teens and an equal number (72%) of young adults* use social network sites. 73% of adult profile owners use Facebook, 48% have a profile on MySpace and 14% use LinkedIn. (Source: Pew, Feb 2010.)

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