cafes & coffee shops online friends social networking technology

5. How to market your cafe without spending a dime!

‘Sometimes, having coffee with your friend, is all the therapy you need.’ – Unknown

Are you spending money marketing your cafe? And if you are, do you know how many return customers you are getting for your money? Print and digital media are notoriously expensive and hard to track insofar as ROI (return on investment) goes, so is there a better option? 

Traditionally, cafes have relied on securing a premises with a high foot count to guarantee customers but have had to pay a King’s ransom in rent in order to secure this type of position.

Being reliant on adjacent office buildings and other businesses for lunch time trade seems to be a fading practice as more businesses allow their employees to work from home.

Bricks ’n mortar type businesses may find themselves having to rely more and more on technology as a way of attracting customers as the advantages for businesses and employees to work from home saves money all-ways-round. But when is  a cafe a cafe?

Sure, you can have live in managers on a premises but you can’t actually turn your home into a cafe if it is zoned otherwise, so what is a viable solution?

As people self isolate and social distance more and more, the need for cafes grows and grows and is probably needed now more than ever as an affordable, sociable outing. 

So how can you attract more customers to your cafe without investing in huge advertising costs but also market your cafe to customers directly so that you are not wasting your own time as well as making it as easy and as cost efficient as possible?

Social Media 

So your food photos look great on facebook and instagram but how do you know that your social media account(s) are working for you and actually increasing your customer numbers?

Most cafes these days, tend to have a facebook page if they don’t have a website, but how often are you updating your facebook page? Most businesses agree that facebook and other social networking platforms act more to validate your business rather than to actually help increase numbers. And we all know that the ‘hard sell’ on social media can turn the customer smile upside down. 

But one of the things that is so necessary in any cafe or restaurant is the hard sell. How many times have you been asked in McDonalds whether you’d ‘like fries with that?’ Selling is what it’s all about.

In fact, many of us don’t really think we’ve had any service in these places until we’ve been sold to. So how does facebook and instagram help cafes with the hard sell? Well, it doesn’t.


Helping out in your community or holding an event at your cafe is a good way to attract more customers. Managing the catering for an event but posting pictures of food on offer at your cafe without a price tag seems to leave out part of the equation, perhaps this is the difference between fast food and slow food?

Fast food offers price certainty and consistency and gets bad press because we can afford more of it whereas cafe food is less about price and more about quality.

But whichever way you promote your business it’s all going to be extra work at the end of the day and running a cafe seems hard work enough without having to pay someone to run social media campaigns simply because ‘that’s what you do.’ Is the ‘nag’ of social media really the answer to your business success or just more of a time waster? Or is there an easier way?

Letting Technology Help

It would seem that we are still learning how technology can help us in everyday life. So how should we be using technology in a way that helps with getting more customers in cafes?

One way technology helps food businesses is by making it possible to order online and then collect your order or have your order delivered. This is one way of using technology to help increase sales.

Although there is nothing particularly new about this, it must leave a lot of seats empty in your cafe and of course it costs to have empty seats. And if everything is delivered or take-out what is happening to cafe culture and the art of socialisation?

Don’t say it’s over pluh-ease. Because if it is the beginning of the end, how will people ever meet? And where will they go?

A New Way To Attract Customers

If you’re a cafe/coffee shop owner/operator and you’d like more customers coming back to your cafe then you should consider listing your cafe (for free) with 5050 Cafe Friends and displaying, giving away or sharing Clever Cookies. 

When you list your cafe, you will also be able to print, share or display Clever Cookies to give to your customers. Clever Cookies let your customers know about the free trial on offer at 5050 Cafe Friends.

When your customers join 5050 Cafe Friends as a cafe friend, they are able to take up the free trial on offer. This will give them the ability to be able to select your cafe as a place to meet up with their friends.

All you have to do is promote the free offer to your customers by giving out business card sized Clever Cookies (available for download when you list your cafe) or display an A5 Clever Cookie (available for download when you list your cafe) in the window of your cafe or on your counter top. Or you can also share CCs (electronically) to social media or with friends.

This is how you can increase repeat customers to your cafe and it’s all completely free! 

Some of the benefits of listing your cafe are:

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s within your control and your listing can be easily managed and updated by you.
  3. It combines technology with real world interaction which means you’re using technology (and so are your customers) to increase in-person socialisation at your cafe.
  4. It supports local cafes.
  5. It supports faraway cafes by making an invite possible to a cafe in another country, state or territory.
  6. It offers an exchange of links (on the cafe listing form) to boost website Google rankings.
  7. It offers the ability to display a food photo and a description of your cafe
  8. You can set the duration of your ‘Deal of the Day’ to promote what you’re offering at your cafe and update it at any time. Your Deal of the Day might be something like this:

      ‘Try a free cronut with every coffee bought this week (we bake them fresh every morning!)’

10. It asks all cafes to agree to the covid requirements for their country.

11. You can add WOO (What’s On Offer) icons to your listing like ‘Free Wi-fi’ or ‘Outdoor Pet Friendly Area’ or ‘Organic Coffee’ there are over 13 to choose from.

12. You don’t need to be a tech wiz to create a listing and it can be easily managed by staff.

What Makes A Great Cafe?

Whether it’s good coffee, great ambience, a great deal, great decor or simply the people that go there – a great cafe is one that you spend time in, oh, and one with secure, reliable, fast and free wifi. Make sure you’re accomodating your customers with free wifi so they have the ability to go to 5050 Cafe Friends, ‘Join as a Cafe Friend’ and send an invite to meet up with a friend/s at your cafe for coffee.

The process on the website makes everyone choose ‘A Cafe Near You’ before they can send out an invite for 5050 Coffee. The choice you want your customers to make is of course to choose YOUR CAFE. And if your cafe is the cafe in which they received a Clever Cookie in, in the first place and has an updated listing, then it’s quite likely that your cafe will be the cafe in which they will choose to invite a friend to.

This is how to get your customers returning to your cafe, by giving them the opportunity to select it on the website.

Keep Customers Coming Back

As a cafe owner/operator you can follow the easy guideline below to keep customers coming back to your cafe. 

1. Free Wifi

In order to get customers coming back to your cafe, you’ll need to offer good, fast, secure and reliable wifi. Add the WOO icon ‘Free Wifi’ to your cafe listing. Look around, everyone who’s on their own these days (or briefly left on their own) in a cafe, flips out their phone, laptop or tablet to either catch up on work, read, flip through their social media accounts or look for stuff on the internet. 

For Cafes/Coffee Shops

Secure wifi for your cafe is a must nowadays and most customers look for cafes where they can surf the internet securely while sipping a coffee. Ensure your cafe keeps your public network secure so your customers access the internet safely.

For Customers

If you’re someone that likes to surf the net while sipping on your favourite beverage at your favourite cafe then choose a cafe with safe, reliable, fast and free wifi.

One of the most important things to look for is end to end encryption. Look for https (the ’s’ stands for secure) on every page you visit.

2. List Your Cafe For Free

5050 Cafe Friends is about turning online friends into cafe friends. People who join successfully are able to find friends they share something in common in with or find friends that they’re just ‘interested in’ and send an invite out to that person or (multiple) people for 5050 Coffee to a cafe of their choosing. 

The first thing you can do as a cafe/coffee shop is to go to and ‘Join as a Cafe’ which means beginning the process of listing your cafe on the website. This is completely free and when you do this, your cafe becomes a 5050 listing and will stand out in your area. Each time you update your listing it will jump to the top of the search results for your area. Cafe friends can then choose your cafe to invite friends to. All people who join as Cafe Friends must choose a cafe before they can send an invite out for 5050 Coffee. 

To start the process of listing your cafe:

a/ ‘Join as a Cafe’.

b/ Add the name of your cafe

c/ The email of your cafe

d/  A password

You’ll then be asked to agree to the t’s & c’s for cafes and also have to tick a box to do with complying with your country’s covid requirements as stipulated by your government. This is necessary to keep customers and staff safe.

A verification link will then be sent to your cafe’s email.

Add Details Of Your Cafe

a/ Add the address of your cafe 

b/ Upload a food photo

c/ Add a description of your cafe like: ‘Creative ambience with good vibes and good food.’

d/ Add your Deal of the Day

About Deal of the Day

Everyone loves a good deal. Adding your Deal of the Day (D of D) at your cafe is one way of letting Cafe Friends know what’s special at your cafe. You can set the duration of your D of D by selecting the start and end date.

A typical D of D might say something like this: ‘A free cronut with every coffee sold today.’

e/ Add WOO

Woo short for ‘What’s On Offer’ icons can also be added to your listing. There are 16 WOO icons to choose from including:

  • Free Wifi
  • Pet Friendly Outdoor Area
  • No Plastic Straws
  • Water Refill
  • Organic Coffee
  • Free Delivery
  • Staff Wear Facemasks
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Used Coffee Grinds For Gardens
  • Water Refill
  • Sells Reusable Cups
  • Gluten Free Options
  • Plant Based Options
  • No Plastic Cups
  • Keto
  • Takeout Only
  • Clever Cookies (on display/giveaway)

The WOO icons you select for your cafe will appear on your listing. Cafe friends are able to see them when they send out a coffee invite and may choose a listing that displays the icons which offers what they require.

For instance, if someone requires a Pet Friendly Outdoor Area they would be able to see that your cafe would accommodate them if this icon has been added to your listing.

3. Giveaway, Display or Share Clever Cookies For Free

Clever Cookies are free to giveaway, display or share but also offer a free trial at 5050 Cafe Friends. You can print out and giveaway a business sized Clever Cookie with every coffee in your cafe or display a Clever Cookie with a QR code for your customers to scan.

If you scan the QR code on the Clever Cookie it will take your straight to the 5050 Cafe Friends website where you can take up the free trial. An A5 sized Clever Cookie can be printed out to display in your cafe window or on your counter top. The free trial enables your customers the ability to turn online friends into cafe friends by sending an invite for 5050 Coffee to your cafe.

Yes, Cafe Friends are able to select your cafe to send an invite out for 5050 Coffee to whomever they choose to meet-up with at your cafe.

This is how you can return customers to your cafe, simply by giving away, sharing or displaying Clever Cookies.

4. Be A Partner Cafe

You can be a partner cafe of 5050 Cafe Friends simply by adding your cafe’s URL to the listing form. When you become a partner cafe by adding your cafe’s url on the listing form (optional) which can help improve visibility on the net.

More importantly, if your cafe’s linked logo shows on the cafe’s carousel of partners it will tell potential customers that your cafe shares similar values to 5050 Cafe Friends and supports equality. 

5. Link Exchange

When you create a free customised listing with 5050 Cafe Friends it will standout in your area and feature in the top 10 of search results for your area and so will easily be seen by cafe friends (people who join the website) when they go to select a cafe. 

When you update your listing it will go to the top of search results for your area, so updating your Deal of the Day frequently is a good idea. 

If you exchange links by copying and pasting the code provided by the 5050 Cafe Friends website onto an appropriate page of your website, it will provide a valuable link back to the 5050 Cafe Friends website which in turn will result in more people viewing your listing.  

The Marketing Cycle

Is there a cycle around marketing your cafe to increase your customers? Yes, but does it begin with the cafe listing or the Clever Cookie?

It starts with the cafe listing which will also enable you to share, display or giveaway Clever Cookies. By starting this process, your cafe is bringing people together which is what cafe society is all about.

A Word About Equality

Equality needn’t be a difficult concept to grasp if you understand the principal of 50/50 or ‘going Dutch’ which at 5050 Cafe Friends is simply about paying for yourself which in turn creates a level playing field or state in which you can ‘be equal.’

This does not mean that everyone has to be the same, but that rights, responsibilities and opportunities should not be based on being born male or female.

Everyone who joins must agree with the 5050 Protocol which brings an awareness to all members around the importance of equal decision-making and gender equity.

Gender equity (going 50/50) paves the way to gender equality which is about fairness and changing traditional behaviours and attitudes around gender role play. When everyone pays for their own cup of coffee (5050 Coffee) it makes meeting friend/s affordable and creates a sociable environment in which people feel more options are open to them.

This is in turn sets any friendship off to a great start and sets the tone for a meeting based on mutual respect, fairness and safety. 

A Word About 5050 Coffee 

The term 5050 Coffee probably won’t be found anywhere, however going 50/50 (fifty-fifty or Dutch) is a common way of expressing the desire to meet up and split costs among friends or parties known to each other.

As the term 50/50 is used and understood universally and often when referring to custody arrangements or purchases made between known parties, it is also recognised as a universally fair way in which assets, custody and payments can be divided, arranged or allocated.

It is the desire to seek the most equitable and equal arrangement in order to bring about the best outcome for all parties wishing to meet that forms the basis of 5050 Cafe Friends.

In this way, meeting new friends is made affordable (no bill shock), easy and stressless. If you’re interested in making new friends who share the same interests or just meeting people who you are interested in, send them a Clever Cookie, let them join as a cafe friend or as a cafe, send them an invite for 5050 Coffee courtesy of 5050 Cafe Friends and meet up with them at your local cafe! 

cafes & coffee shops online friends social networking technology

4. What is a Cafe Friend and where do you find them?

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

– A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Make a friend. Find a friend. How to get friends. How to make more friends. It all sounds kind of desperate. 

But we’re living in uncertain times where social distancing and social isolation are becoming the new norm’. So perhaps finding friends is something we can no longer take for granted. 

Perhaps now that we understand that maintaining friendships through covid times is difficult or even to make new friends poses problems (as we have to socially isolate or stick within our bubble), then it’s more important than ever to value friendship.

The Importance of Friends

Not only is making friends important for little kids, but it’s also important for adults. If this is a social skill that we need to learn – then let’s learn it. Because it’s getting harder and harder to meet new people and we need to find friends for our own sense of well being.

We all know that creating new relationships takes effort. So let’s minimise the effort and let technology help us by combining online connections with ‘real world’ offline (in-person) meetings to fulfil our need as social beings and increase our quality of life. 

Social Intelligence

They say that the difference between higher more intelligent beings and less intelligent beings is the fact that the more intelligent beings use social networking or learnt social behaviour to aid their survival. In other words, intelligent beings such as dolphins, chimpanzees and humans learn from each other via social interaction.

Like humans, dolphins can pass their knowledge down to future generations. From mother to calf or from associated individuals by copying behaviour and imitating vocalisations. They live in complex social groups where their survival depends on highly-involved social interaction.

Through a capacity for social learning (learning from others), they can develop new skills and behaviours which can equip them to adapt to a changing environment. It would seem then that being social as a species is key to survival. 

The dance halls, clubs, bars, pubs and sports fields are no longer with us as a place to socialise in the way they once were. Even schooling has become an online activity. Work places are being replaced by the home office. So how will we ever meet new friends if the places we gather in as a group are eliminated from social activity? It’s a worrying trend as it may mean that the very thing we crave to do – what many of us live for – is presently no longer possible. 

So let’s not take being able to socialise for granted anymore and instead let’s figure out the ‘how to…’ How can we find friends and socialise in the future? We’re just as smart dolphins, so let’s (instead of leaving it up to chance) start looking at each other with a view that socialising is not just a pleasurable past-time but serves a greater purpose, that of survival.

What is a Cafe Friend?

A cafe friend is a friend that might be a colleague, employee, relative or someone closely associated with you, who you meet up with in a cafe who you initially made contact with online.

At 5050 Cafe Friends the way you find friends is by introducing yourself, discovering interests you may have in common and chatting about it online. Once you have established that you may like to meet in-person you are then able to send an invite for 5050 Coffee to meet up at your local or faraway cafe. Cafe Friends are people who enjoy the casual and informal atmosphere of meeting up with a friend or friends in a cafe.

They may be people from the same area or people who share your interests or people you are just interested in. Although cafes and coffee shops as businesses have suffered in 2020, there will come a day when they will be able reopen their doors and welcome customers.

Clever Cookies, Cafe Friends and Cafes

We’re anxiously waiting for things to return to a time when sitting in a cafe at your leisure is practicable again. Cafes are the one place you can visit on your own and feel comfortable. They’re also the one place you can visit with a friend or friends and feel comfortable. They’re also a place where you may first discover Clever Cookies. 

Every cafe owner/operator in 5 different countries is able to list their cafe for free at 5050 Cafe Friends When they do, they’ll be asked to agree to the covid requirements for cafes for their country. When their cafe is listed, they are then able to print out, display or giveaway Clever Cookies. CC’s let people know about the free trial at 5050 Cafe Friends. During the free trial they are then able to select the cafe and send out a 5050 Coffee invite to a friend or friends to meet-up there.

Shared Interests and Intros

When you join 5050 Cafe Friends, you are asked to select 2 – 5 interests from an extensive dropdown, so think about what you’re into. You will then receive an email or website notification when anyone else shares the same interests. The interests that you list here will help when you come to introduce yourself as you will be asked to mention what someone else is into.

Anyone can introduce themselves to anyone and if you’re a good listener, you’ll make any ensuing online conversation ‘not solely about you.’ An active listener practices listening by making a conscious effort to hear (or in this case) read the words spoken. But you can also contribute by asking questions, remaining neutral and by being non-judgemental and patient. Yes, you will be asked to mention what someone else is ‘into’ namely, to take an interest in them by mentioning some of their interests, so make this your chance to become an active listener. 

If you share common interests it then becomes a whole lot easier to communicate ideas and thoughts. You may even start to learn more about the things you are interested in and this can be quite exciting!

If you don’t share common interests then that’s ok too, you can always just take an ‘interest in someone’ but it’s always a good idea to take an interest in what interests them. Because showing an interest in something that someone’s interested in is a bit like active listening. It shows that you care about what they like.

When you take an interest in someone’s interests – it means that they will (in turn) be more interested in you!

The Intro

How do you do this? When it’s not possible to have a 3rd party introducing you to a friend in-person, introducing yourself by way of an online form becomes the next best thing.

An Intro at 5050 Cafe Friends goes something like this:

‘Hi, I’m Anthony from Adelaide and I’m a school teacher. I read your profile and see that you’re like cars.’ And hit: Send 

What you are doing when you introduce yourself to someone by incorporating four elements: Your first name, the place you’re from and what you do, is declaring yourself in a way that makes you ‘worthy.’ Then by taking an interest in what someone is interested in like cars, you’re forming a common bond.

You also in that moment, cease to remain a stranger as you are communicating a little about yourself first which is important if you want to make friends. If you get a response which hopefully – you will, then you will have the opportunity to learn more and continue the conversation by messaging back and forth. But be patient and wait for a response first.

Try and keep any messages brief though. Brevity is key. In this instance definitely ‘less is more’ because it’s easy for messaging to turn into a literary contest and very often people aren’t that good at expressing themselves in text or words and too much can be divulged or misconstrued.

A developing friendship with a word or two out of place can result in being ghosted and you don’t want that. Once you’ve messaged a few times back and forth and remember brevity is key. Why? Too much information (although tempting) is not advised for fear of turning into penpals, it also becomes very easy to misconstrue what someone is saying when people are communicating only in text.

An online friendship that develops too quickly is often a good recipe for being ‘ghosted’ and you don’t want that. So take your time and keep your messages brief and polite and when you feel the time is right, pop the question: ‘Would you like to meet for coffee?’

If the answer comes back, ‘yes’ then you’ve stepped onto the bridge of uncertainty safely and are progressing along it, to soon turn your online friend into a cafe friend. Fortunately, the next step is all taken care of via the website where you’ll be able to select a cafe where you may want to meet. 

With a tap of the coffee cup icon you’ll be able to select a cafe and a day, date and time to continue your conversation in person at a cafe. Once you’ve selected this, you can then hit Send

The friend/s receiving the invite then has 24 hours to accept, decline or message you back. After 24 hours the coffee invite expires so you’re not left hanging wondering why someone hasn’t responded – you can pretty much assume that you’ve just been ghosted and move on to seeking an in-person meeting at a cafe near you with your next online friend.

Same Interests, Same Area

If you’re meeting a friend/s from the same area as you, then you are very fortunate as you may already have a lot in common and this makes someone seem already known to you.

If you are meeting friend/s who share your interests, then you are also very fortunate as this can be ‘the glue’ that may ensure that your friendship endures. Having things in common means that you can learn from each other about things you are interested in and this is a huge bonus. 

5050 Coffee

Everyone who joins 5050 Cafe Friends as a Cafe Friend must agree to the 5050 Protocol. The 5050 Protocol simply means that you are are in agreement with paying for yourself which means you are happy to pay for your own cup of coffee/beverage.

By paying for your own cup of coffee, you are creating a level playing field in which you are obligated in no way to the person/s you are meeting. This means, you can walk away if you feel uncomfortable. Meeting in a public place such as a cafe is also the best way to keep your meeting safe.

Cafe Friends

If you’ve met up with someone for 5050 Coffee: Congratulations! You’ve turned your online friend/s into a cafe friend/s. A further meeting means that you are well on your way to creating a new friendship.

You’ve established a new way of meeting people by meeting up for coffee. You’ve used technology in a positive way by turning online friends into cafe friends.

A less stressful and more socially acceptable way in which we can establish new friendships is a good way to share information and further develop our interests. Which in turn allows us to be more social and ultimately happier.

cafes & coffee shops online friends social networking technology

3. How To Turn Online Friends Into Cafe Friends

‘Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.’ – Woodrow T. Wilson

How many times have you been online and thought: ‘I’m messaging back and forth with this person as if I know them…but I don’t, do I?’

Do online friends give you a false sense of security or are they real friends? Is it possible to turn online friends into cafe friends and potential real-life friends who may become life long friends, colleagues, future employees or partners?

It’s possible to make it possible.

The World We Live In

We live in an increasingly technological world where physical tasks like grocery shopping, paying bills, banking and clothes shopping can be done online. These aren’t typically places where you’d find online friends, but what about Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram?

On these social networking websites people can view personal photos, you can ‘like’ and send ‘a friend invite’ and receive birthday greetings on your birthday from people you’ve never met in person, so are these people you are connecting with your friends? 

Well, perhaps some of them may have the potential to become real life friends but they are more likely to remain as online friends.

You may have found an online friend that connects with you over something you’ve commented on or something you have in common, but will you ever meet? Probably not.

Online friends tend to stay as online friends. But be aware if you’re friends online with someone, just remember that at the other end of your message or behind that phone or keyboard there could be a real person and even though you may never meet these people in real life, they are however ‘real’ people who if they’re human (not bots) may react in a similar manner to you regarding a comment or something shared or similar.

So is it possible to tell if you’re messaging online with a real human or just a bot?  Yes it is, but we’ll get to this later.

We live in an increasingly isolated world. 2020 was the year when people were forced to self-isolate and practice social distancing, to reduce the spread of the covid 19 pandemic, so what did we do? We spent a lot more time online. More time online reconnecting with friends and family meant the creation of more online friends.

What are online friends?

Essentially, an online friendship is one created exclusively online. Generally speaking it develops by forming a bond with someone who shares same interests or leaves a comment or replies to something in a message. To understand the benefits of an online friendship it helps to understand some of the differences between an online friendship and an ‘in person’ friendship and the value of anonymity.

An online friend can nearly always be reached but also you can leave the discussion and then pick it up again later. They tend to be ‘lower maintenance’ friendships that don’t demand your physical presence. The only thing missing is physical touch but that can be replaced with sending a love heart emoji.

Online friends may communicate more openly with you due to the anonymous nature of being online. This is also why they say that people who communicate via say, email or who use social networking sites to create communities can develop a close relationship faster and boost engagement in the workplace because anonymity creates less personal accountability and scrutiny. 

Online anonymity makes it easier to share interesting facts about yourself which you may not otherwise reveal in a ‘face to face’ relationship.  People tend to disclose more when they can remain visually anonymous as they are not encumbered by prejudice or stigma based around gender, age or physical appearance. 

Re-inventing oneself by (whilst not being seen to do this by remaining visually anonymous) can also make someone represent themselves in a more authentic way.

With an online friendship you can be detached but attached at the same time. Although you can be in different geographical locations, online friends are able to be emotionally immediate even though their locations might be miles apart.  

Social networking enables us to easily create social ties that were impossible a few decades ago while technology has developed relatively quickly, human relationships are a little slower to catch up and we may not be aware but our online friendships can develop at a rapid rate and more quickly than we think. 

Social Networking

Social networking can help us to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues, customers and clients. But what is meant by the term ‘social networking’ if we talk about it in the strictly social sense – meaning (offline) in-person socialising?

We know that being online allows like minded individuals to stay in touch, create meme’s, send emojis, view gifs, laugh at funny animal videos and absorb more information than ever before. But is it allowing us to form the deeper bonds required to take an online friendship to the next level by developing it into a real life friendship? When does social networking tip over from the online world into the offline world and help us to establish in-person friendships?

Messaging back and forth with a profile image that you’ve accepted as a true representation of the person you are ‘getting to know’ can feel quite personal. Let’s assume that the profile image is of the person you are communicating with and you’re discovering that you have things in common such as shared values, experiences, hobbies and sports. In fact, the relationship has developed to a point where you’re starting to look forward to ‘a reply’ from the person in question. Then suddenly you ask yourself…

Why do I like this person that I haven’t even met? Why do I look forward to a reply from them? Could it be that online friendships form as a consequence of ‘hope’ and that without access to the internet, we realise that it would be impossible to make a friend as quickly and in seeking a friendship we are comforted by the thought that we are not alone? Is it this, that makes us exchange information with a complete stranger who at this point is just a profile image on a screen. Or is it the beginning of a promising online friendship?

Some advantages of online friends only are:

  • You don’t have to meet them. Online friends are abundant and there are usually plenty more where they came from.
  • Online friends really aren’t very demanding. You can usually message them when you want and they you.
  • Online friends can live in different countries or States and you can learn about their culture or lifestyle.
  • Even if you’re shy or a little socially awkward, you can easily approach people online. Typing (in private) rather than talking  (in public) means that you can express your feelings in a way where you there are no real repercussions if your comments are taken the wrong way. 
  • You can learn about someone, sometimes more easily often through their profile or by asking them questions. For some reason this seems more acceptable online (probably because again of anonymity and distance) than in person where someone may object to you questioning them. 
  • Online relationships can make you feel that there are other       people out there (just like you) and you are not alone. They offer hope. 
  • You can bond with online friends by exchanging information about your shared common interests. 

But, if you’re getting excited with the thought of receiving a response from someone you’ve only just made contact with online, then you might be starting to engage with a profile image on an emotional level. Just be careful not to it let it result in fanciful feelings and unrealistic expectations because you haven’t actually met the person in question yet.

If the idea of meeting the actual person who is the profile photo (bursting the bubble so to speak) does not appeal, then you could be in danger of becoming obsessive and this is not where you want to be. One of the ways to kill the obsession is of course to simply meet the person in question. They are usually never as you anticipated and so the bubble is burst. 

The experience of meeting someone in real life that you previously only knew online can be very different to what you had imagined.

But at this point, should we be asking ourselves: ‘Am I developing an unhealthy relationship with someone who I’m connecting online with?’ Or should I make the effort to meet this person? Do I want more than just an online friend? Be aware, it’s important to note at this point most online relationships go no further as meeting someone does take effort and sometimes it’s just easier to make a new online friend. 

Social networking communities such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that provide no opportunity for people to physically meet rely on the ease of a ‘click’ to create an online presence only.

But if you’re getting to the point where you’re asking yourself: ‘What now?’ And think you may be in danger of exhausting your online friendship, then a physical in person meeting may be necessary, but be warned: Many people will ghost or walk away at this point leaving you a little miffed that they were not prepared to put the effort into meeting you.

Or it may feel like outright rejection for no reason. Be inclined to put it down to online behaviour – a phenomenon of the modern human condition that if you’re online frequently enough you’re sure to experience. 

Developing a relationship with an online profile photo (and that’s all it is at this stage because you haven’t met the person who claims to be the profile image) then be aware – your online relationship may developing at a rapid pace that may end up in you exchanging too much information too soon. 

Being Ghosted

Suddenly your online friend is no longer there. For whatever reason (and you’ll never know the reason because they’ve ghosted you) and your online friendship will never result in a real world friendship and so you may never meet in person.

It’s important to note at this point most online relationships go no further as meeting someone does take effort and sometimes it’s just easier to make a new online friend. Social networking communities such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that provide no opportunity for people to physically meet rely on the ease of a ‘click’ to create an online presence only.

But if you’re getting to the point where you’re asking yourself: ‘What now?’ And think you may be in danger of exhausting your online friendship and a physical in person meeting may be necessary, then be warned: Some people will ghost or walk away at this point leaving you a little miffed that they were not prepared to put the effort into meeting you.

Or it may feel like outright rejection for no reason. Or, you could just put it down to online behaviour – a phenomenon of the modern human condition that if you’re online frequently enough you’re sure to experience.

But how do you ensure that a valued online connection will develop into a more meaningful relationship and what can you do to facilitate this?

The Bridge

You’ve reached a cross-roads or a bridge in your online friendship where you really do have to ask yourself a serious question: ‘Would I like to meet this person?’ If the answer is: ‘Yes,’ then you may step onto the bridge.  But if the answer is: ‘No.’ Then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what you’re really doing.

Purely online relationships that continue over a (sometimes) long period of time where neither party have any intention of meeting – tend to bubble over into the ‘unhealthy’ range.  Unless you have a good reason for not meeting (like for instance you can’t travel) then you really should be making the effort. Why? Because even an online relationship needs to go somewhere.

Online relationships can be like hungry fishes that require fish food, so feed your fishes. 

So you’re at the bridge and you’re looking along it and it looks a little unsafe maybe even swaying a little, questions are flooding your mind like:

  • How did I get here?
  • Do I really have to do this?
  • What if the bridge gives way?
  • What if I fall from the bridge?
  • What if they change their mind and don’t want to meet me?
  • What if meeting this person feels awkward?

At this point you really do have to say to yourself: ‘These are just insecurities and I know that a real experience will result in a positive outcome. So there’s no good reason not to do this.’ You’ve gone over the checklist in your mind and you know the persons exists and is not a bot, because they’re 5050 V (5050 Verified) and you’ve viewed their vlog. You’ve also:

1/ Established a first name basis.

2/ Established where each other are from.

3/ Established what each other does for work.

4/ Established common interests or the things that interest you.

5/ And very importantly, established that you’re dealing with a real human (and not a bot) by dealing only with 5050 V people. (5050 V is 5050 Verified at 5050 Cafe Friends which means a vlog has been uploaded to verify a person’s identity).

Then it’s time to broach the subject, by messaging something like: 

‘I’ve enjoyed our conversation so far and would like to continue the conversation by sending you a coffee invite and meeting up for coffee, would that be ok?’

If the reply comes back in the affirmative. You’re on your way to taking your online friendship to the next level by continuing it over coffee in the real world. 

Right Place, Right Time, Right Circumstance

They’ve said: ‘Yes,’ so congratulate yourself and take another step on the bridge. You’ve risked rejection to take your online friendship to the ‘next level.’

They’ve also given you an idea of when, where and what and although the process has taken a little longer than you thought it would, you’re starting to feel that you’re going about making a new friend the right way, but now you’re faced with, ok, so, who invites who? And who pays for what? And where do we meet? Even though you’ve told yourself: ‘Let’s do this.’ How do you actually do it?

The beauty of 5050 Cafe Friends is that they take the agony out of the situation by handling it all on the website. All you have to do is choose ‘A Cafe Near You’ and you’re on your to making a new friend. So take the plunge (no, don’t dive off the bridge), simply send a 5050 Coffee invite. 

The 5050 Coffee Invite

A stressless, no fuss way of meeting with your online friends? Impossible. At 5050 Cafe Friends they’ve taken care of the situation by creating an invitation for 5050 Coffee. All you have to do is tap on the coffee cup icon, choose a cafe in your general vicinity, select the day, date and time and hit ‘send.’

The person/s receiving the invite will be able to accept, decline or bring a friend. The ‘bring a friend’ option is only available for people who identify as female when they register though. This option is designed to reduce anxiety (for females) about meeting someone new for the first time, so they can feel more comfortable with the situation. The person who has invited you, is then notified that the ‘bring a friend’ option is a condition of meeting. 

Everyone however, must agree to the 5050 Protocol when registering. The 5050 Protocol is about going 50/50 or Dutch by paying for your own cup of coffee. This is a very simple thing, but a great way of making a new way of meeting people affordable and safe. This way everyone knows where they stand and a level playing field is created where no person need feel obligated in any way to the other. 

Which means, if you’re under no obligation because you’ve paid for your own coffee or preferably non-alcoholic beverage you can leave when you want.

When everyone agrees with the 5050 Protocol it changes attitudes and behaviours and makes equality a reality. It makes equality a reality by affording all parties the same rights and privileges.

Then all party’s are meeting because they share some of the same interests or they’re simply interested in each other. They’ve established an online friendship and now want to take that step onto the bridge.

The days of anyone having to feel obligated to anyone because they have made the conscious decision to meet them or because someone paid for a cup of coffee are hopefully well and truly behind us. 

Cafe Friends

Let’s assume that the online friend in question has accepted your 5050 Coffee invite. By now, you can see the end of the bridge and it looks like you’re going to make a safe crossing. The last few steps will be the ‘actual meeting’ in the destination agreed to.

So what are cafe friends, exactly? Cafe friends are simply the people you have invited for 5050 Coffee who you’ll be meeting up with in a particular cafe. A cafe or coffee shop is a great place to meet to continue the conversation you enjoyed online and to get to know a friend (or friends) better. 

Cafes provide the perfect space and ambience in which to converse and socialise. Being able to hang out with a friend/s in a place that’s not going to cost an arm and a leg is an attractive option.

Many cafes aren’t restricted by opening hours either. You can virtually turn up when it’s convenient for you and enjoy a barista made coffee or (preferably) non-alcoholic beverage of your choice.

Just remember to enjoy the freedom provided by the 5050 Protocol by paying for yourself. And when you think about it, it shouldn’t really matter who invites who. The only thing that should really matter is that everyone is meeting because they want to.

So you’re in the situation and your online friend turns up and on time. They follow suit and pay for their own coffee/non-alcoholic beverage. The conversation begins almost where it left off online. There’s no tension, there’s no stress and you both have established what you have in common and the conversation is flowing freely.  

You’re even starting to discover that you have many more shared experiences and things in common than you first realised which will help forge a deeper bond between you. You crossed the bridge and got to the other side, safely.

With the help of 5050 Cafe Friends you’ve just turned your online friend into a cafe friend who may even become a real life friend. 


You now know how to find friends online and convert them into cafe friends which could lead to forming a life long friend. You’ve discovered a new way of meeting people!

social networking

2. Can Social Media Help You To Find Friends?

‘Wishing to be friends is quick work,

But friendship is a slow-ripening fruit.’ – Aristotle

We’d all like more friends, but does social media create the sort of online friendship that can develop into an in-person friendship?

Or is social media just a glorified gossip forum about people we know, sort-of know, don’t know at all or would like to get to know but can’t?

Or, do we like to acknowledge its existence but keep it at arms length because we instinctively know that without it, we’d feel much lonelier? 

Does acknowledging what other people are saying and doing through social media alleviate social isolation? Or does it feign friendship by forcing us to engage with it?

Who Uses Social Media?

It’s not just the domain of young people anymore, social media can help build online connections that would otherwise be impossible. So social networking can save time by allowing us to connect with people who are faraway and who we are unlikely to meet in our everyday lives. Social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram and Linked-In help to provide valuable information about ‘what’s out there’ and ‘who’s out there.’ 

But how did social media come to be the domain of the young in the first place? Why do we live in such an ageist society when older people are living longer? Why does there seem to be a role reversal where older people are learning from younger people whereas it used to be the other way around – when older people used to be regarded by the young as wise? Why have the young embraced technology in a way that their parents haven’t? 

It world seem that the world has divided into two, maybe three types of people:

A/ Pre-internet Users. (People who have never grasped the internet and perhaps never will and are cautious of it). This group tend to be older.

B/ Internet Users. (People who have been brought up with the internet and accept it). This group tends to be younger.

C/ Perhaps there’s a 3rd category of Users? People who know both – the internet and life without it. This group tend to be smarter.

Is social media impacting our lives similarly to how group A/ coped with the advent of television when it was in its infancy? Television was deemed bad if you watched too much of it, but now everyone is binging Netflix. So if it’s possible for television to change to suit viewer appetites.  Perhaps it’s also possible for social media to change to suit User appetites. Then perhaps over time like television, social media will mould to our requirements whereas presently it feels more like we’re being changed to suit its requirements. 

Or perhaps it simply comes down to our usage? Too much screen time can develop couch potato habits. But if we’re mindful of how we use our screen time i.e. social media, then it may just impact our lives in a positive way and become a useful leisure time activity just like television.

Some Social Media Positives

1/ Social media can connect people in a way that would otherwise be impossible as it can overcome barriers of distance and time. It allows people to connect and re-connect thereby expanding interactions and networks.

2/ You can use social media to spread positive messages about your organisation or business.

3/ You can use social media to tell human stories by using video, photos and a narrative. 

4/ Social Media is good for making friends and connecting with family.

5/ Managed social media programs can help young adults achieve better outcomes at school.

Seen The Social Dilemma? It features Facebook execs questioning their faith in Facebook. According to this documentary, Facebook has developed into a needy digital conundrum. It posed some interesting questions around social media where there seems to be more negatives than positives associated with its usage.

One of the debates around Facebook in The Social Dilemma stemmed from how Facebook drew people in by constantly engaging with them. You can’t just put FB away for another day. It’s like a baby that never stops crying – it demands your attention. And by demanding your attention it creates an addiction of sorts.

Perhaps it draws you in, in the same way that a good drama with good actors does. We all know that actors are playing a part but sometimes as we know them only as their character, we feel that we know them, when in actual fact we don’t. If only they weren’t so convincing! 

A profile photo (if that’s all you have to go on) can be quite alluring. But the reality is you’ve become friends with a profile photo and some text. If you put it like that then it certainly loses its gloss. So how is it that human beings can lull themselves into a false sense of reality and kid themselves that something is real when it’s not?

Is it suspended disbelief? Whatever it is, it seems like we want to believe that what’s not in fact real – IS. And just because we believe in something it doesn’t make it true. So who defines what’s true and what isn’t? That is the question.

It would seem that the in order to believe something is true, a statement must come from a higher authority and then it is more likely to be deemed as true, that is until it’s found out not to be. And in order to not question truth, we must fear the outcome of truth.

For instance, if Facebook says staying connected to your online community is a good thing, then we tend to do it, because the fear of finding out that it’s not a good thing risks being rejected by the community and ending up alone.

Social Media Negatives

1/  Cyber-bullying by individuals known and unknown to us. Because the use of technology by individuals goes largely unchecked, an unflattering image or hurtful message sent by one  individual about another individual without their approval can be shared many times across the internet. This is known as cyberbullying.

2/  FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a social anxiety associated with wanting to know what others are doing. 

3/  Social media can contribute to unrealistic expectations and friendships. Sometimes just because you’ve made an online connection with someone and regard them as a friend, it doesn’t mean that they also want to be friends back with you. Generally speaking, it takes time to develop a friendship and unrealistic expectations or hopes of how a friend should treat you can kill the relationship from developing any further.

4/  Social media can contribute to a negative body image, low-esteem and lack of confidence.

Discovering what you deem as a higher authority like your friends on Facebook and that they may be critical of someone’s body image may impact your thoughts about your own body image.

5/  Social media never sleeps (and doesn’t allow us to) so therefore it can contribute to an unhealthy sleep pattern. Waiting for that message, reply or comment or how the comments we may have sent can contribute to a broken sleep pattern where checking our phones becomes habitual.

6/ It can result in comparative behaviour which can result in low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. Constantly comparing yourself to impossible images, ideals or even good deeds can result in feelings of inadequacy. 

7/ It can make individuals seek out social rewards for egotistical reasons rather than genuine acts of kindness and consideration. Being seen to be ‘doing the right thing’ by performing a good deed so you look good on your facebook page (eg posting a selfie with the person you are helping) could possibly backfire and be seen by people as fake intent rather than doing good. 

8/ It can make us place our faith in total strangers that may do us harm. This is an obvious one. People are very capable of telling lies on social media as they are never held accountable. They manipulate you into trusting them and it may result in you doing something that you may not have wanted to. 

9/ Social media behaviour can be tracked and analysed to influence behaviour. As social media in general is free for users, this provides an unregulated network where corporations have uncontrolled and free reign over how your data may be used.  

10/ Social media usage can be tracked to sell advertising back to individuals. This is how social media organisations make money. Your behaviour online indicates what you are interested in and in this way, social media organisations can see where you spend your money and then place ads around where you go online. 

11/ It can strip away individual freedoms and privacy by going unchecked and unanswerable to a higher authority. 

All of the points above can impact us negatively if we use social media, so then why do we use it?

It would seem that a combination of a feeling of increased self-isolation without it and convenience may provide some answers. For almost the same reasons that social media can negatively impact our lives it can also positively impact our lives, but it seems there is a fine line between social media having a positive impact and a negative impact.

Does social media make us feel less lonely?

It is a basic human need to feel inclusive and welcome – to be accepted. With all of us living increasingly isolated lives especially in 2020, our online usage has increased, so how does it make us feel less lonely? 

Like having the radio or television playing in the background, social media plays a part in making us feel less isolated by connecting us with other humans that we may not even know.

It seems to be a human phenomenon that the thought of other people like us existing in the world gives us hope and by connecting with others we feel less alone.

Feeling included in a dialogue or community is how we feel less isolated and valued as humans. Although much of the time these interactions may be with people we haven’t met, they can still give us hope – hope that there are people out there just like us and that we are not alone. 

Does social media make us feel more lonely?

It would seem that there is a fine line between social media impacting our lives in a good way (making us feel inclusive and not alone when its at its best) and making us feel feel more lonely and less worthy.

Over usage (the very thing that Facebook and other social networking services encourage us to do more of by altering algorithms) can in fact make us (by doing more of it) less happy and ultimately more lonely. 

But how does this come about?

There may come a point where even online friendships have to go somewhere – grow and develop in order to feel that they are of any value. But where do they go?

If you know someone previous to knowing them online then that is a slightly different scenario, but if you know someone from only knowing them online, then it would seem inevitable that one day you should meet or carry on that relationship into the off-line or real world in order to continue and grow the relationship.

If this is not possible, or someone does not feel any need to develop the relationship further then this could lead to an increased sense of isolation as it could be interpreted as rejection.

Certainly the ability to ‘ghost’ people that previously you remained in contact with can lead to feeling hurt and disappointed.

The cruel thing about ghosting is that it leaves no room for discussion and provides no explanation as to what may have gone wrong. It throws doubt into the mind of the ghosted about what they may have done in order to be left ‘hung out to dry’.

One may begin to doubts one’s actions, but if you think you’ve done nothing wrong or have done nothing to warrant being ghosted, then it may damage your confidence and self-esteem. 

Is a ‘real need’ necessary in order to meet your online friends in the offline world?

So you’ve lost your cat or phone or wallet and now you must meet the person who has found them? That’s a real need – something you can’t avoid like an essential thing you require in order to live your life. Something where you are sort of forced to take an action. You’d like that job. So yes, you will have to attend the interview. 

But what if there’s no real need to meet someone other than to become friends? Is that a real need? Probably not. A particular friend isn’t necessary in order to keep living your life. This makes it much more difficult to step onto The Bridge of friendship to make the effort to go and meet with that particular person.

This may seem to be the main difficulty with online friendships is that at some point they need to develop into ‘real’ friendships in order to continue to grow and the only way to do this is to ‘meet the person.’ 

But in taking these steps at the risk of a meeting being awkward or being ghosted or rejected will at the very least signal to you whether that friendship was really ever a possibility in the first place. As they say:

‘The journey is just as important as the destination.’

social networking

1. Unbeautiful: How A Vlog Can Help You Find Friends

‘Be your own kind of beautiful.’

                           – Anonymous

Not everyone can be beautiful, but we can all be un-beautiful (even the beautiful), which is best described as ‘inner beauty,’ or being ‘true to yourself,’ or being genuine whether you’re beautiful or not.

So what is an unbeautiful vlog and how can it help you find friends?

An unbeautiful vlog is not photoshopped or digitally enhanced in any way and shows that you are genuine and that you are who you claim to be. When online it provides a level of trust as other people can see you for who you are.

‘It’s not easy being green’ as Kermit the Frog once sang. If we have straight hair we think we’d look better with wavy hair. Even supermodels are critical of their own look and are very seldom content with all of their features. So perhaps if we’re so discontented with our natural assets and so afraid that others might judge us by them, it would make sense (if our intention was to show that image online) to enhance how we look before we uploaded it.

And herein lies the problem. 

It’s easy to erase a wrinkle here or make a mole disappear there when using an online photo editor. But if we’re all altering our images, then we’re going to become unrecognisably perfect – in a way that our edited image and our original image (before editing) will look nothing alike.

In a way, we’re erasing our identity, so that no one will see us. If you’re transitioning from the online world into the offline (real) world, how will the friends you make online ever recognise you if you look nothing like the edited image you just uploaded?

We apparently become more satisfied with our self-image and our self-esteem improves as we get older. So why does everyone have such an issue with getting old then? Why is being ‘authentic’ so important now? Is it because it’s so easy to fake who we really are online? 

We’re constantly fed images of beauty that for many of us are impossible to replicate. For the most part, it seems to be about promoting a concept in order to sell a product. The age in which we live where ‘The Influencer’ is paid to promote a product or service certainly reinforces this. But beauty and being able to afford beauty products are also seen as a sign of success and ‘success and beauty’ combined, deliver a ‘one two punch’.

As a consequence young adults are feeling so much pressure to look a certain way (as it’s deemed that this is necessary in order to be successful) that they now feel that the only acceptable image of themselves is a photoshopped image. Feeling discontented with our self-image seems to have reached epidemic proportions, so what can we do about it? And, do we have to look a certain way in order to find friends?

Should we be constantly living up to what is perceived to be beautiful or more accepting of the concept that: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?’

Or, should we be focusing less on physical appearance and more on character and achievements? 

Is being unbeautiful a better way of being if it means ‘being being genuine?’

What Is Beauty?

There are many different concepts of what comprises beauty but it seems to mean different things to different people. So why then do people feel the need to look a certain way?

It would seem that the idea of beauty is constantly being re-defined, so who or what then is responsible for defining what beauty is? Is it science and evolution and the sum of our genes? Is it celebrity that defines and redefines beauty? Is it magazines and tabloids? Or could it be that we define beauty by success?

Successful people seem to be able to afford to enhance their beauty by paying for cosmetic procedures or affording hair and make-up or by including a gym in their homes. Is having good health beauty? Or are we taking on the look of androids with smooth unwrinkled skin and mask like faces? Is the concept of what beautiful is, actually in reality being defined more by the surgeons scalpel or the beautician’s wand? 

By and large it would seem that humans have access to more physique enhancing products and services than ever before. But then why do we want to look younger if it’s been scientifically proven that we get happier as we age. Are we happy to be unhappy so long as we’re beautiful?

It would seem that we are and that how we look is everything. If we’re improving ourselves so much, then why is accepting ourselves as we are and the way we look becoming more and more difficult? Why do some people who really aren’t very good looking seem to be happier with their looks and happier in general than some people who are very good looking?

Looking good never seemed so important. In a media saturated world full of stunning images is it any surprise then that when we take a look at our own image we look at ourselves with a very discerning and critical eye and decide what needs improving?

We seem to be constantly comparing ourselves to ‘the beautiful people’ out there in print media and on social media and in the image saturated digital world, so can we really be blamed for feeling justified in subjecting that image of ourselves to a little photoshopping? They do it, so why can’t we?

Edited Images

Smooth away that mole, freckle or wrinkle. Do away with those frown lines or jowls. I wanna be perr-fect. The good news is that you can be without even having to go ‘under the knife’ your online image can look pretty much perfect with just a few clicks and the right application.

The celebs do it, tabloids do it – pretty much everyone in print does it including men’s and women’s fashion mags, so it’s ok, isn’t it? Of course it is. But is it going to make you feel better about yourself? Maybe not.

If you receive the wrong sort of attention from people who say: ‘Look, she’s photoshopped.’ Is that the sort of attention you were seeking? Or if someone says: ‘Hey, I can barely recognise you from your photo.’ Is that the image you wanted to portray? Perhaps it is. To people who don’t know you though, they’re going to think you look great. Right? So you’re going to look great – to strangers? Is that really what you wanted? To look great to the people you don’t know? Wonder what that does for your self-esteem. If you were trying to attract fans, this might work. But if you have to front – in person, is this really going to work for you? Probably not. 

If you’ve edited a photo that you’re using as a profile photo online and then have to upload a vlog to verify who you are, then the two are going to look very different. Then, if you also have to front, then you’re going to look like you do in your vlog not your profile photo. Did you really want to shock someone with the real you? Probably best to have a profile photo and vlog in the same (visual) ball park.

So let’s start with your vlog. If you want to look good in your vlog, then enhancing your image by using an online editor isn’t going to help you. That’s right. It won’t matter a jot. You’re better off treating yourself like a celeb might by, investing in some good lighting, make-up and hair. Because that’s what they do. Maybe even a decent camera operator (or as the case is more likely to be – a friend who can video your vlog on your phone’s camera).

Your vlog is going to tell the viewer very quickly what you’re really like and in this way offer a truer representation of you than a photo. So would you want your profile photo to look wildly different to your vlog? Doubt it. Ideally, you want them to look a little similar. So how can you look your best? 

The first thing to remember is that you can update your vlog at any time. If you can look good without looking like you’ve gone to too much trouble, then all credit to you. Making it all look so effortless makes you seem natural. And natural is nice. But don’t worry if you can’t, the old saying: ‘The camera doesn’t lie,’ is not quite so, otherwise Spielberg wouldn’t be as rich as he is. The camera very seldom picks up that you’ve slapped on the makeup if the lighting is right. So here are a few helpful hints.

  • tidy hair 
  • a little make-up (you’d have to be very heavy handed with the make-up to make it look too much in your vlog).
  • great lighting is good. Experiment a little with the light in the room by standing in different spots.

And make sure you wear the most important thing of all – a smile. Some people can’t do it. They simply can’t smile. So do it. No. DO IT! If you have to practice smiling, do it. You may not be aware, but a smile is more than stretched lips and gleaming white teeth. What a smile does, is let people know that you’re not socially awkward, that you are well adjusted and that you’re friendly, approachable and relaxed. 

What’s Up With The Young?

Time and time again, we hear from our elders. ‘You have more opportunity, more freedom, more education and more everything – including money, than I ever had at your age. So what’s your problem?’ Gee, younger people sound ungrateful at best. So, what’s up with the young? Are they just shirkers? Or could they be feeling the sort of pressure and stress older people never experienced?

You can’t really argue with older people because they’re, well, older – and they assume authority because of this. They also may have experienced war and no-one can argue with that. So we have to respect what they have to say. But how are young people really feeling?

Older people tend to think ‘build a bridge and get over it’ you’re young. You have it all. But do they? It would seem that young people are feeling overwhelmed by the world they’ve inherited from, well, older people. The pressure to succeed in this world is leaving many young adults unable to cope.

If you think about the pressure young adults might feel just to look good. Then you might start to understand the world they inhabit. Monetarily it can be difficult. It’s getting harder to get that part-time well-paid job to pay for stuff. To look good, you may even have to be seen by others to have what it takes in the way of:

  • Latest mobile phone (what young person doesn’t want the latest technology?) It’s become their life (just try and separate a young person from their phone). Don’t argue. Of course they need to keep up with the latest trends, otherwise their friends might ‘ghost’ them. Life is cruel.
  • A gym membership. Yes, you need to stay fit even when you’re young, so you can tone up and look good with a tattoo? Surely not.
  • Assume the air of having the means to afford travel. Everyone wants to rave about where they’ve just holiday’d – even the young. You definitely need to brag about ‘how you got sick’ whilst you were overseas (but got over it) to make people feel sorry for you and prove that you’re incredible. Just like on Survivor. 

So looking good seems to be important, right? The pressure to succeed, conform to an ideal body image, even world events are impacting not just young people but people the world over. Are these types of feelings making us feel inadequate in a way that makes us reject the way we look and reach for the photo editor? Feeling like you don’t stack up in the scheme of things and if you hate your body, hate yourself, being fearful and anxious and feeling that your image – the way that it is – will never be acceptable to others, may have you reaching for the photo editor and may mean you are suffering from low self-esteem. So how do we can we feel good about ourselves?

How To Feel Happy-er

Whether we’re honest about it or not, whether we know it or not, whether we can actually achieve a state of inner peace and happiness or not – we all strive to be happy. But how do we get there?

Here are a few suggestions that can may make you feel happier but take note, none of them mention being beautiful-er, rich-er or more successful:

1/ Be active. Exercising a little each day can counter depression and help you to relax. It can improve cognitive ability which can improve body image. And the good news? Whether you lose weight or not doesn’t come into it.

2/ Get adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep will not only help to keep your weight in check, but it will reduce depression, increase focus and make you more productive. Sleep is essential to a feeling of well-being and is restorative.

3/ Make Your Commute to work shorter. A short commute to work is better than a big house. Long commutes and sitting in traffic does not make us happy.

4/ Increase Social Time With Friends And Family. Even for introverts more time spent being social and with family improves our feeling of well being. 

‘The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.’ – George Valliant.

5/ Spend time in the fresh air. Take time to smell the roses. Apparently going outside on a nice day boosts positive mood but also improves memory. They say, happiness is maximised at 13.9 degrees.

6/ Give Back. Help others 2 hours a week. You’ll find that it may enrich your life and in return you’ll feel happier.

7/ Practice ‘real’ Smiling. As we suggest for your vlog – smile. If you find it difficult to smile – practice. But cultivate a positive thought first, don’t fake smile. There’s a difference. A smile that uses your eye sockets is one that is real. To produce a ‘real’ smile think of something that makes you really happy like for instance a funny cat video or a trip away somewhere. You’ll find that you withdraw less, become more successful and live longer. Smiling reinforces feelings of joy.

5 Tips To Video A Simple Selfie Vlog On Your Smartphone

If you’re thinking that you’d like to create a brief selfie/vlog to find online friends at 5050Cafefriends and you’d like to come across as being genuine which would also bode well for an in person meeting in real life, then here are a few tips:

1/ Use a selfie stick (this way you can move your phone a little further away and be in control of how your vlog looks).

2/ Don’t stand with a window behind you otherwise you’ll be silhouetted. 

3/ Look at the camera/phone lens rather than look at the picture of yourself. That way it will seem like you’re looking at the person watching your vlog.

4/ Find the most flattering angle by videoing yourself straight on or raise your phone up a little. This way you’ll seem slimmer. 

5/ Video yourself in landscape not portrait mode. 

Take a few still images at the time you video your vlog. A still image can then be used as a profile photo and it will look in context with your vlog and not fake or photoshopped. When you ‘Vlog to Join’ at 5050Cafefriends a profile photo will be randomly taken from your vlog and uploaded as your profile photo but if you want to change it later on – you can, this is when one of the still images you took when you were videoing your vlog will come in handy.

That’s all you need to do to join. Now people can view your vlog and you’ll be instantly 5050 Verified which will let people know that you are who you claim to be.

Stay ‘True To Yourself’ And Be Happy

Having to verify that you are who you are may seem trite, but online, where people don’t know you, it helps to build trust. Being ‘genuine’ and ‘true to yourself (and others)’ can be the key to happiness, because you are living by your own values. You can put being true to yourself to the test by thinking of a situation in which you believe you you were living in accordance with your true thoughts, beliefs, personality and values. If you relive this situation in your imagination, you will be happier.

If you upload a random photo off the internet and use it as your profile photo online or  have altered an image of yourself in some way so that it is more in keeping with trends or what others might think or what you deem to have more appeal, then this may alert other people to you not being genuine and it will make an in-person meeting very difficult.

Using an image of someone that is not your own could also be seen as identity theft. Taking what’s not yours is never a good idea. This may also have the opposite effect to what you intended which in turn, could make you less popular.  If you’ve taken someone else’s identity in order to safeguard your own anonymity, you’re not playing fair and upsetting and misleading people unintentionally or not, can come with its own set of negative consequences. 

Uploading a vlog is verification in and of itself and lets others know that you are genuine. Yes, it can be quite confronting and feel like you are putting yourself ‘out there’ by exposing yourself to the world but if you want to find friends authenticity can be key. 

Uploading a photo from the internet that you know is not of you is known as cat-fishing and is the antithesis of authenticity. If you want to come across as being real and genuine a vlog will let people know this and if you meet up with your online friend/s in real life at least they’ll have some idea of how to recognise you. 

What’s Unbeautiful?

So if you you’re questioning how you look in your vlog and think it may not be representing you in the best way – practice it a few times until you have one you’re ok with. Just remember that having a vlog and being 5050 Verified will let others know that you’re genuine.

It’s not about being beautiful or ugly, being unbeautiful is about being genuine and that sort of inner beauty defies the camera.

At 5050Cafefriends we encourage everyone to upload a vlog because a vlog cannot be photoshopped, uploaded from the internet or edited in the same way a photo can. Wear that big, happy smile, get the light right and shoot. 

Appear in your vlog as you would in your normal everyday life. If you most often wear jeans and a tee-shirt – wear jeans and a tee-shirt. Look like you would as if you were about to meet up with friends. The great thing about a vlog is that it’s not just about how you look – it’s about how you come across, like how your voice sounds and how you seem.

So DON’T fake it till you make it. MAKE IT by not faking it. 

At 5050Cafefriends you can ‘Vlog to Join’ by uploading a simple vlog in which you say something as simple as:

‘Hi, my name is …… and I’m from ….. invite me for coffee.’

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