Getalife social networking site urges Aussies to interact in person

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Getalife social networking site urges Aussies to interact in person

An Australian-based online social networking site is encouraging its users to get out and actually meet with their online friends.

Social networking site - www.getalife.com.au is an Australian owned and run social networking site with 30,000 members who have created aproximately 8000 activities and 1000 active interest groups.

Jelle Marechal, founder of Getalife.com.au said the heart of the site’s philosophy is to promote interaction between people in real life. Getalife connects people to meet for a real cup of coffee. Or for a game of soccer at Centennial Park, or a Christmas games night at Balmoral beach, said Marechal.

"Unfortunately it's a fact of life that people simply spend far too much time behind their computer. A Monash University study publicised last week even found a growing number of Australians becoming addicted to online social networking."

He believes the site offers a tool for people to connect around sporting, cultural or recreational activities they organise themselves. The activity might be a one-off, like finding a couple of buddies for a kayaking trip up Mooney Mooney Creek.

Others get together regularly, like reading groups. If members can't find what they're looking for, they can create a group or activity of their own and invite others to join.

Despite security concerns with meeting ‘online friends’, Marechal said Getalife is no more or less dangerous then joining an actual bushwalking or book club, where the members are all strangers as well.

“The environments in which people are meeting have social controls. They are in groups in public places and not in one-on-one situations. When people meet through Getalife they can check out the social event beforehand through users’ comments. If they are going off to a town like Mooney Mooney, the people usually would’ve meet beforehand and attended other events together,” said Marechal.

While Getalife provides moderation to ensure no inappropriate content or people post on the social networking site, Marechal said people organise their own events and it can be in states as far as Perth.

“We can’t police every event some of them are located in different sites. But when you go into any social event where there are strangers, there’s a degree of faith people have to have before attending an event,” he said.

Marechal said any “freaks on the site are quickly exposed”. He believes the site is less dangerous then other singles sites.

“I’m sure RSVP advises its users not to meet in a dangerous setting. However there’s more danger when the social setting is a one-to-one dating situation, then having a social activity with a group of people,” he said.

Getalife's calendar now features around 250 upcoming events across Australia's capital cities.

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