Social Circle 2.0: The New Website is Here!

Well, hi there!

When we sat down in February of this year to decide whether or not it was time for a new website, we agreed that the first step would be to ask our members for their feedback.

After our members told us what they want (what they, really, really want!), the verdict was clear: they wanted a new website.

After a few months of planning, development, excitement, and okay, yes,…frustration, the time has finally come for us to launch the new Social Circle website.

One of the things we wanted to accomplish was to better tell the story of Social Circle and what we stand for, as well as demonstrate what our members get out of being a part of the Social Circle family.

We hope you like how it looks, seeing as we designed it with you in mind. We designed the site so that it is simple to navigate and organised the content to make it more accessible. We were going for ‘modern and forward-thinking’; we have achieved just that. You will find all features fully compatible with smart phones and tablets, enabling you to stay in touch with us while on the go.

You may have also noticed our new logo. That’s because we haven’t simply redesigned our website, but rebranded the Social Circle identity. Entering our second decade in business, we decided to reevaluate our message and ensure that it reaches both our members and prospective members in an ever-evolving market.

We also made the change with one eye on the corporate market to introduce Social Circle into the workplace. We are also planning on turning social Circle into a franchise in the near future. So, as you can see, a new brand identity was imperative for us at this moment in time.

Just because we have a new look, don’t think we’ve lost sight of who we are. In fact, we’ve streamlined our message after 10 years of getting to know our members. We still have that family feel and we’re still Manchester’s Premium Social Network: don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise 😉

Take some time to get used to our new website; be sure to add us to your bookmarks and check our calendar page and blog for updates, regularly.

It isn’t simply a new look we’re talking about here. We have added new features and improved upon old ones. And we’re not ashamed to say that we’re proud of our achievement.

Our videos and photo galleries are more seamlessly integrated with the navigation and more easily accessible, instead of sitting at the bottom as separate areas of the site. Videos are now categorised too, so you can choose to see footage of events, testimonials, or whatever it is you’re looking for.

We understand that it can be hard to find what you’re looking for at a glance when you’re looking at an event calendar with over 150 events. We have remedied that by making events easier to find on our brand new events category pages. Events themselves now feature all of the key information in a concise and cleanly presented fashion right at the top of the event. July is our biggest ever calendar, by the way; and we have more free events than ever: 70% of the events we offer in July are available at no cost to members. The range of events are as diverse as ever too, with choices ranging from cinema and comedy to Chester races and canoeing.Don’t forget, of course, to browse the new home page. The home page is made up of various sections, encompassing text, images, and video. We have laid out the various sections to tell the story of Social Circle, with the “about us” page taking the visitor a step further on that journey.

That’s all for now!

Please do let us know what you think of the new Social Circle website!

I also invite you to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. We will have lots of exciting news and events to share with you in the coming weeks and months.

If you have any questions about the new site, or about anything at all, please feel to email us at info@social-circle.co.uk.

What’s your “social status” and what does it say about you?

Are you letting machines take over your life? Find out what to do about it

Many of you will seen (or perhaps heard) the famous Einstein quote on technology.

manchester events social circle einstein quote
As the genius’s prediction has proven to be fairly accurate thus far, it may appear all doom and gloom for the future of Manchester socialising. But is there hope? Hmmm…maybe!

The irony is that you probably saw that very quote it on your Facebook timeline, whilst browsing on your mobile phone, ignoring your friends in the same room, whilst they were sat next to you doing the exact same thing. 

Einstein’s “Idiots” comment may seem harsh but then who am I to tell Einstein who is or isn’t a idiot? Whilst I’ve never handed out IQ tests in that scenario, I have certainly observed its lack of social interaction.

manchester events social circle people mobile phones
David Wendler, authour of Improve Your Social Skills, said:

“I think social media has made us more connected, but made the connection more superficial. Facebook allows you to stay updated on the lives of your childhood friends or your neighbors from years past, but there’s a difference between being updated and being intimate. Instead of spending time making real-world connections, people spend their time on social media, and that leads to them feeling less connected overall.”

Of course, it isn’t just our social lives that have been dominated by technology. Many aspects of our daily routine have fallen foul to the machine.

Even exercise has been given an easy route thanks to the Wii. Now we can even play tennis without leaving home (15-love to technology). Video games is another example.

Think back to those occasions when we played board games with family and friends, and dare I say it, even visited outside once in a while.

But now video games rule, where we often spend time interacting with people whom we never see (except, of course, if we add them as a “friend” on Facebook, in which case, we at least get to see their face).

Does our social life in Manchester now consist of taking a selfie on the way home and posting it online so your other Manchester friends can comment on it? manchester events social-circle-leading social networks.png
Did you just embarrass yourself online?

It could be argued that social media makes life easier in that you can get by on minimal effort. And in some ways, that’s true: you don’t need to bother putting on your new dress for a night of socialising in Manchester. Instead, you can simply opt for pyjamas and ice-cream.

However, it isn’t as relaxing as all that. Studies have shown that we get anxious as to how we present ourselves through social media.

  • “Will they think I’m weird if I post this?”
  • “Oh no, I’d better delete that comment on Sarah’s photo, she may take it the wrong way”.
  • “I want to show off my bikini body to my friends but what will my boss think?”

And then, of course, there is the dreaded ‘seen’ tick, which indicates then your message has been read. It’s only dreaded, of course, when that person hasn’t replied immediately. And I do mean immediately. If they haven’t replied within seconds, is it that we have typed something utterly ridiculous? “Oh no, what if they don’t reply?”.

At least in the days of old-style mobile phones, when you were waiting for someone to reply to your text, you could convince yourself that your message had not yet been read.

And what about those who we have sent a friend request to ? Anxiety over who’s following you back leads to awkwardness when you meet them face-to-face again.

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Of course, in some cases, it may be that we decide we don’t like someone else. We sometimes find ourselves shocked at our friend’s political, or even sporting, alliances, and are at that point, somewhat less inclined to want to socialise with them. Whereas, in an actual conversation, perhaps we would take the time to listen to them and better understand their view.

When exactly did our social lives get sucked into cyberspace?

Remember Friends United? How about MySpace? Well Facebook arrived in 2004, combined the strengths of those two platforms and has dominated as the no.1 social network ever since.

Twitter made its debut in 2006 for those with short-attention spans and Instagram took the concept of the “selfie” to a whole new level.

With FourSquare, Snapchat and countless other social media phenomenons seeming to be cropping up all of the time, the opportunity to socialise online is greater than it has ever been.

 manchester socialising social media timeline
Slaves to media

What is the difference between your Manchester social life and social media? It’s media, of course. Doh! And media has been ruling our attention long before Facebook.

We live in a media-driven world. Think about it? What do you talk about with your friends? Corrie? Eastenders? The latest revelation from the Daily Mail? And now, it seems, reality TV has taken over much of our media consumption.

Facebook meal for one

“Our society today is not moving around anymore.  We live in a box life – box breakfast, box car, box office, box lunch, box music, type and message in a box and then finally go home to your box house and watch the box TV.” Tony Robbins

Think back to the moments in your life that you treasure the most. Are those with friends and family or are they at home updating your Facebook status? Think of family holidays or weekends away with friends, all those Friday and Saturday nights.

Now think about that night you spent in with your mobile phone and a microwave meal for one. Sure, it was easy. But it’s probably a night you will forget in a hurry.

What do we have to talk about any more at work on Monday morning? You know what David had for dinner and you have seen all of Rachel’s holiday snaps. And it isn’t as if you can talk about them because you already did that when you commented on them on Facebook.

I guess you have nothing else to talk about until when you get home that evening and see their latest updates.

A 2013 study published by the Public Library of Science, conducted by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan and Philippe Verduyn of Leuven University in Belgium, revealed that the more time someone spends on Facebook, the less satisfaction he has with life.

An article from The Economist discussed the findings:

“Those who used Facebook a lot were more likely to report a decline in satisfaction than those who visited the site infrequently. In contrast, there was a positive association between the amount of direct social contact a volunteer had and how positive he felt. In other words, the more volunteers socialised in the real world, the more positive they reported feeling the next time they filled in the questionnaire.” 

A separate study conducted by strategic insight agency Opinium revealed that one in fine people said that they felt depressed when seeing their friends’ lives on social media.

The alarming statistic equates to an 6.9mn people  constantly comparing themselves to their friends’ posts and presenting their own lives through frequent updates.


How does social media affect your social skills?

If, as the study showed proved, your mood is adversely affected by an overdose of social media, it’s hard to be at your best socially.

As a socially awkward generation, it may then be time to think about updating our social skills, rather than our social status.

Stephen Sutherland, founder of Manchester’s social and adventure network, Social Circle, has seen how the advent of social media has affected socialising in Manchester and has vowed to ensure that we don’t lose grip on a social reality altogether.

“It’s harder than it once was to reach out to people as more and more have opted for a lifestyle of TV and Facebook. I repeatedly push the message that we only have one life and we need to live it to the full and I will keep on pushing that message as long as Social Circle exists.”

It’s not all bad, however, as Social Circle has an increasing membership base, with more and more people looking to inject some zest into their social life; a possible sign of a backlash to an online world.

David Wendler, who also runs improveyoursocialskills.com

“I think we’re already seeing a movement of people wanting to experience more in-person connections and distance themselves from social media. I’ve read about “unplugging” camps where people pay money to live in a cabin for a few days without any access to digital devices, or social events where people are required to leave their phones behind. It’s still in the early stages, but as people become more and more aware of some of the downsides of the digital age, they’ll discover new ways of reconnecting with each other.”

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So, is social media all bad?

The next time you meet someone and they and say ‘Find me on Facebook’, why not ask for their number instead? Go on, I dare you!

It’s a useful tool. It’s a great way to reconnect with old friends. It’s an easy way to create events and arrange get-togethers. And it’s far easier to keep in touch with friends and family the other side of the world. Rewind about 20 years and the choice was either to send a message by the painfully slow snail mail or commit your life savings to British Telecom.

But like any technology, it makes us lazy. And when it comes to less socialising, that presents a real danger.

Wendler added:

“I think people need offline opportunities to connect with each other. There’s no substitute for face-to-face time with another human being. But we need to go beyond just bringing people together. In chemistry, there’s this idea of a catalyst, which is a substance that facilitates a chemical reaction. We need to find the catalysts that facilitate human connection — look for the experiences or activities that bring people together, and invite people into them. In other words, we need to ask “Can we discover (or rediscover) the activities that bring people together, or the experiences that connect people when they are shared?” The more we discover and spread connection catalysts, the more we will be able to combat the superficiality of social media and truly bring people closer together.”

If you like your socialising in Manchester to be more about meeting people than poking them (do people even do that any more?), Social Circle afford you that opportunity with its 150+ events per month.

Whether you are introverted and need some gentle encouragement, or you just can’t get enough of meeting new people, give Social Circle a try.

Some great ideas on how to make new Manchester friends

If you’re struggling to make new Manchester friends, the gentleman in the video shares some useful tips. Of course, he doesn’t facilitate a way for you to meet people but there are a few interesting points, nevertheless.

To summarise, he advises:

1. Spend time around people – if you isolate yourself, you can’t make new friends. Be social like going to a sporting event, visiting a coffee shop, go to a bar.
2. Join a club, group, or organization – you’ll meet like-minded people
3. Volunteer – do something good for the community while building a bond and camaraderie with those around you
4. Start conversations – talk to everybody! Sometimes the conversations will stick, thus a friendship is started.
5. Small talk – Small Talk Skills
6. Reintroduce yourself at the end of a conversation – get that name to stick!
7. Accept every invitation
8. Ask other people to do things – push yourself outside of your comfort zone and ask others to do things like lunch, coffee, drink, see a concert
9. Keep your friend – be a good friend by listening, being loyal, being trustworthy, being reliable, being yourself

All good ideas. But starting a conversation and stepping outside of your comfort zone are great if you have opportunities around you that enable you to that. No. 2 is great because it enables you to meet numerous people. But specialist groups tend to be very small and not everyone is there to meet people but just to enjoy a certain activity. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re limited to the friends you can make because the activity you’re involved in involves only a few people.

At Social Circle, we feature over 150 opportunities each and every month for you to step out of your comfort zone and start conversations with people you have never met before. And every single person who attends an event with us is doing so with the intention of meeting new people. Click here to try an event with us for free and start meeting some new Manchester friends today.

free event in manchester

Do you have a strategy for your Manchester social life?

manchester social life‘Strategy’, like sales, marketing etc. is one of those buzzwords that we associate with business. But when you think about it, businesses are a lot like people. We need to grow and learn from our mistakes, promote ourselves by how we look and through our interactions, and sell our ideas to people. Even if you’ve convincing your best friend to go to a specific bar at the weekend, you’re selling them on the idea of going to that specific bar. But what we sometimes forget is our overall strategy to be successful in life. The fact is that every area of our life needs a strategy. And our social life is no exception. So what is your strategy for your Manchester social life?

Firstly, look at your circle of friends and ask yourself how many you see on a regular basis? Do you see, and enjoy social nights and activities, with them frequently? Or do you see them less often because they have moved on, either literally moved to a new city, or have entered a relationship and just don’t have the free time that they used to? So your social circle is very much at the heart of your social strategy. And if you don’t have friends to socialise with regularly, you need to fix that.

The other key part of your social strategy is your social calendar. Are you really spending your evenings and weekends enjoying the activities that you would really like to do? If not, it may just be that your current circle of friends don’t enjoy those activities. But socialising isn’t fun unless you’re doing what you enjoy with friends you love. So what’s the solution?

Social Circle is for those who wish to meet new people on activities they enjoy. For the past 8 years, we have mastered the art of social introductions and have seen countless friendships develop. Try a free event on us to see how Social Circle can enhance your social strategy.

free event socialising manchester

A New Manc’s Guide to Manchester- Events, Venues, and More

manchester events guide
Manchester maybe known for being a sporting hub, thanks to the global popularity of Manchester United and the rising prominence of its blue counterpart. However, it is also one of the largest cities in the UK; second in terms of population, in fact. So when you are new to such a thriving city, how do you navigate without getting lost and what can you expect from your new home? Here are a few handy notes on Manchester events, venues, and more.

  1. You will soon consider it homeIt’s hard to live in Manchester without it’s very core sinking deep into your bones. One day, sooner than you think, you will leave town for a day and find that you long to go back home to good ol’ Manchester. The music, the nightlife, the people…all of those things you may have initially found daunting, will pull you right on in.
  2. Meeting people is easy. And they’re some of the friendliest people you will want to meet.While Manchester is a large city and a cultural hotbed, it isn’t so full of itself that you will get lost in the hype. The people here are warm and friendly and will make you feel right at home.
  3. You can learn to make your way around central Manchester in no time at allMaking your way from one area in the city centre to the next is a breeze and there is always something to see. From the trendy and eclectic Norther Quarter to the shopping beacon of the Arndale Centre and the upmarket King Street to the commercial and restaurant hub Spinningfields, you will know where you are going in no time. Along the way, you will see quirky shops, as well as the more common chains for the commercially minded, independent and chain bars and restaurants, and maybe even a celebrity or two.
  4. You will be proud of being a Manc As an adopted citizen of Manchester, you will begin to feel  a healthy hatred of anyone who dares to say a bad word against your new, beloved city. That is especially the case if they’re from Down South. Not to confuse you, there is also a thriving cosmopolitan scene. Such as is the brilliance of the city, they too tend to become proper Mancs, sooner or later.

  5. It rivals London as the UK’s media hub. Since the BBC moved here properly and we now not only have the likes of Coronation Street and Jeremy Kyle being filmed here regularly, shows such as The Voice often make their way down from the capital to allow fans to be studio guests for the day.

For those of you have recently moved to the city, click here to download our free guide on making the most out of this fab city.

Manchester Socialising Is Dead. Long Live Your Social Life!

manchester socialising events milton club40% of people spend more time socialising online than they do face-to-face (source: AllTwitter)

There are some frightening statistics around socialising since the advent of social media. Social media is all fine and good (and let’s be honest, this blog certainly belongs in that field). But does that mean that it should take up so much of our attention? It is great as a way to send a quick message or to send out a mass invite to an event. But it was never intended to replace face-to-face communication.

There are other stats out there, which are equally frightening:

24% of people have missed witnessing important moments because they are too busy trying to write about them on social networks (source: The Social Skinny)

We’ve all seen a coffee shop or a train full of people with their heads down, fixated on their mobile phone screen. Instead of engaging in conversation with the person sat next to them or noticing the environment around them, they’re stuck in cyber space. Oftentimes, that’s on their lunch break before they go back to work to…you guessed it…stare at a screen for the rest of the afternoon. So not only is a social media addiction a socalising killer- it’s not particularly healthy either.

Internet users spend 22.5% of their online time social networking (source: The Social Skinny)

A lot of other activity may be equally wasteful but then why are we spending so much time socialising online when there is a whole host of people to meet in the real world?

The Solution

Social Circle offers numerous opportunities for Manchester socialising to get you out there and getting involved with what’s going on in the world around you. Whether you just want to meet new people or have specific activities in mind that you’d like to have a go at, see our Manchester events calendar here and choose your free event.

manchester socialising- free event

How To Meet New People in Manchester

The three ladies above are talking more about meeting people for dating rather than friendship but the same principles apply. Let’s break down their suggestions one by one:

  1. Meeting people at the park
    They refer to the park as the dog park. I guess that’s more of an American term but then we do have dogs and we do have parks so I get where they are coming from. This is certainly one way to meet people and hey, you would definitely have something in common: you both have dogs. And while your dog is off socialising in his or her own unique way, you can strike up a conversation with a fellow pet lover. And who knows: you may become friends for life?
  2. Meeting people at the supermarket
    I don’t think this one is quite as natural as the one above. Yes, it’s possible, but finding something in common (unless you both happen to have your dog with you) is far less common. I don’t know if you would start talking to someone about your love of croissants just because you both happen to be stood in the bread aisle.
  3. Meeting people on an airplane
    Sure, you could do. But the problems with this one are apparent: they may not live anywhere near you  (Manchester Airport covers areas far and wide) and Manchester may have been their holiday destination and they are heading back home to God knows where.
  4. Meeting people at work
    Let’s face it. If this were that easy, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
  5. Meeting people through existing friends
    I have to agree with the ladies on this one. This is certainly a risky proposition. Introducing friends to other friends can sometimes result in cringe-worthy occasions. And you wouldn’t want to do that to your existing friends now, would you?
  6. Meeting people at Church
    Not that there’s anything wrong with going to Church but this is far more of a realistic method in the U.S. where attending Church every Sunday is a common event.
  7. Meeting people online
    They are talking about dating specifically here but it is still a valid method and people do make friends this way. However, the problems that exist with online dating exist here also. You never quite know how closely the person in their profile resembles their real-world persona and just because you both checked music and sports in the the interest categories doesn’t mean that you will get on in real life.

Another suggestion would be to attend social events where you know in advance that people are there on the same terms as you. Social Circle offers more than 150 opportunities each and every month to meet new people in Manchester. So what are you waiting for? Attend a free event of your choosing and come along and meet some like-minded people.

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Young Manchester professionals suffering from depression

British psychologists have conducted research which shows that educated 20 and 30- make-new-manchester-friendssomethings are prone to pre-midlife depression.

It is a time that should provide adventure and opportunity, before marriage and mortgages have worn their welcome. But coping with relationships, debt, unemployment (and employment) is causing a quarter-life crisis among young professionals, says a new study by British psychologists.

Showing all of the qualities of a midlife crisis, the quarter life crisis is recognised by depression, loneliness, disappointments, and insecurities, and affecting 20 and 30-somethings after they are faced with the real world. Educated professionals have been recognised as those most likely to suffer.

Dr Oliver Robinson, lead researcher from the University of Greenwich said:

“Quarter-life crises don’t happen literally a quarter of the way through your life. They occur a quarter of your way through adulthood, in the period between 25 and 35, although they cluster around 30.”

Robinson, who discussed his research at British Psychological Society Annual Conference, collaborated with researchers at Birbeck College on the study which he claims if the only study to look into quarter life crisis from a data standpoint rather than pure speculation.

The study is supported by research conducted by Gumtree.com. The website found that 86 per cent of the 1,000 individuals who took part of the survey confessed to succumbing to pressure in their jobs, finances, and relationships before reaching 30.

Robinson further revealed that the quarter life crisis, which continues for two years on average, is not 100 per cent negative. These crises comprise four separate phases, which he said begins with a feeling of being trapped.

Two in five were worried about money, saying they did not earn enough, and 32% felt under pressure to marry and have children by the age of 30. Six percent were planning to emigrate, while 21% wanted a complete career change.

Robinson said:

“The results will help reassure those who are experiencing this transition that it is a commonly experienced part of early adult life, and that a proven pattern of positive change results from it.”

Damian Barr, who wrote a book entitled: ‘Get it Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarter-life Crisis’ said that an increasing amount of 25-year-olds are feeling pressures typically reserved for people in their mid-40’s.

He added:

“Plenty of people are going to say the quarter life crisis doesn’t exist. The truth is that our 20s are not, as they were for our parents, 10 years of tie-dye fun and quality ‘me’ time. Being twenty something now is scary – fighting millions of other graduates for your first job, struggling to raise a mortgage deposit and finding time to juggle all your relationships.

“We have the misfortune to be catapulted into a perilous property market. We’re earning more and spending more than ever. We’re getting into debt to finance our degrees, careers and accommodation.”

Not that there is no such thing with depression as there clearly is but as in many cases of labelling, sometimes the solution is less complex than made out to be. Often, what we need is to feel a part of something, to have friends and family to reach out to in our hour of need. Really, it’s just about the human touch. That’s what makes Social Circle so unique. We may have a wealth of events on our calendar but it’s all about meeting people. Think of what they went through in ‘Friends’. They may have had a luxurious apartment but they certainly had their fair share of troubles over the years. Make new Manchester friends today and start making the most out of life.

top 10 best restaurants social circle

Adding a splash of gin to Manchester events

manchester-events-gin-tasting
The technical explanation of gin is a spirit flavoured with juniper. However, don’t let that simplicity fool you. Among the best-loved and more complex drinks, with a timeline that covers hundreds of years, gin goes right back to the birth of distillation. It also makes for a great addition to Manchester events. In fact, come to think of it, it’s just the kind of event we’re offering in August. You’ll have to read until the end of this blog post to find out more 😉

So while only true lovers will find the history of gin even remotely interesting, the important thing to take into consideration is that it is very definitely a great choice for a social occasion. There’s nothing like a get together with like-minded gin enthusiasts (or people who just like the taste of alcohol) enjoying gin in all it’s various guises.

Picture this: It’s 1920’s New York and prohibition has taken over the city. But WAIT….! Whispers can be heard down a dark alley. Hiding inside a long closed building is a joint that only a select few know about. You hear a dark, husky voice from the shadows: “Can you tell me the password?”.

Social Circle is offering limited FREE places to a £15 valued Gin Tasting event hosted by Portobello Road Gin at The Pen and Pencil. You will be greeted with a complimentary glass upon arrival and various tasters and cocktails will be available on the night. So if you feel like adding something stronger to your Manchester events, this may just be the perfect occasion 🙂

 

Manchester socialising just got Hot! Hot! Hot!

manchester-socialising-bbq
How have you been during the hottest few days of the year? As Brits, we may be used to complaining about how our heat is stickier and clammier than our European counterparts. But those hot summer nights can also make for some fantastic Manchester socialising.

This week, we’ve enjoyed weather hotter than Barcelona and Hawaii. Granted, we don’t have the sea and sand of Spain and Honolulu, especially in the North, but at least we’re enjoying some sun at long last.

So how do you take advantage of the sun? Visiting the pub on a weekend afternoon is certainly more enjoyable. As is walking in the Peak District or the Lakes. Certainly, pub nights tend to start earlier and have a different vibe, especially in an area like Castlefield, with bars that are made for sitting outside.

The sun also tends to puts us in a better mood, and more open to socialising. So if you want to get out there and meet new people, now is the time.

There are some great summer events coming up at Social Circle while the sun is still hopefully) beaming down on us. We’re really looking forward to the Summer Monster Party & BBQ. Last year, we saw 130 join us for some summer fun, and we’re hoping for at least that turn-out this year. We’ll be having all of the food you can eat, a free glass of Pimms, karaoke, DJ, a magician, and even an ice-cream van. So be sure to join us for some fantastic Manchester socialising at this year’s BBQ Party. The perfect summer event! 🙂