Let's talk about science.

Today, our communication is largely mediated through technology. This can be a problem, because communicating in this way can make it really hard to have authentic connections[1] when it is not approached thoughtfully[2].

Here’s how Longwalks is different:

We guide the conversation.

Guided conversations can create an environment where people want to authentically share and genuinely listen to each other [3,4]. We use fill-in-the-blank prompts to guide our conversations and help us explain ourselves [5]. Also, these prompts frame our responses similarly, so we are more likely to understand each other and have successful relationships [6,7].

Everyone shares.

Since we have to share our own Path first, we don’t worry about interruptions or comparisons. This gives us the space for vulnerability and self-disclosure. Then, the magic really happens because when one person shares, others want to reciprocate [8,9], which produces more intimate relationships [10]. Plus, having the same amount of space to share helps everyone feel more included and heard.

Us versus Social Media:

Routine vs. Addiction

Social media can cause addiction and physiological withdrawal symptoms [11]. To combat this, we only give one Path a week, so you can spend more time outside!

Compassion vs. Comparison

Social media can result in feelings of depression [12], jealousy [13], and loneliness [14] due to comparing likes, followers, and comments. We don’t tabulate and display statistics such as “like” counts to other users.

Friendships vs. Followers

Having more “followers” does not mean that someone has a better social life [15]. A person’s brain can only handle so many close relationships [16], and it takes repeated interaction to maintain those friendships. We give you the space to build friendships with a few people, as opposed to being “friends” with thousands.

Basically, if social media is soda, we are spa water (ooh, ahh) that actually tastes as good as it looks in that fancy pitcher. Try it out for yourself.

We’re not experts, but these people are. Check out our references here:

  1. Walther, J. B. (2015). Social Information Processing Theory (CMC). The International Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Communication, 1-13. doi:10.1002/9781118540190.wbeic192

  2. Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-Mediated Communication: Impersonal, Interpersonal, and Hyperpersonal Interaction. Communication Research23(1), 3–43. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365096023001001

  3. Griffin, E. A., Ledbetter, A., & Sparks, G. G. (2012). Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM). In A first look at communication theory (8th ed., pp. 67-83). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

  4. Dialogic communication: W. Barnett Pearce and Kimberly A. Pearce, “Combining Passions and Abilities: Toward Dialogic Virtuosity,” Southern Communication Journal, Vol. 65, 2000, pp. 161–175.

  5. Berthold, K., Eysink, T. H., & Renkl, A. (2008). Assisting self-explanation prompts are more effective than open prompts when learning with multiple representations. Instructional Science,37(4), 345-363. doi:10.1007/s11251-008-9051-z

  6. Griffin, E. A., Ledbetter, A., & Sparks, G. G. (2012). Constructivism. In A first look at communication theory (8th ed., pp. 98-110). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

  7. Jesse Delia, Barbara J. O’Keefe, and Daniel O’Keefe, “The Constructivist Approach to Communication,” in Human Communication Theory, F. E. X. Dance (ed.), Harper & Row, New York, 1982, pp. 147–191.

  8. Griffin, E. A., Ledbetter, A., & Sparks, G. G. (2012). Expectancy Violations Theory. In A first look at communication theory (8th ed., pp. 84-97). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

  9. Burgoon, J. K. (2008). Interaction Adaptation Theory. The International Encyclopedia of Communication. doi:10.1002/9781405186407.wbieci041

  10. Carpenter, A., & Greene, K. (2016). Social Penetration Theory (C. R. Berger & M. E. Roloff, Eds.). The International Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Communication,1. doi:10.1002/9781118540190.wbeic0160

  11. Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2011). Online Social Networking and Addiction—A Review of the Psychological LiteratureInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health8(9), 3528–3552. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph8093528

  12. Steers, M. N., Wickham, R. E., & Acitelli, L. K. (2014). Seeing Everyone Else's Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive SymptomsJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 33(8), 701-731. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2014.33.8.701

  13. Krasnova, H., Wenninger, H., Widjaja, T., & Buxmann, P. (2013). Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction? Wirtschaftsinformatik Proceedings 2013. 92. https://aisel.aisnet.org/wi2013/92

  14. Kross, E., Verduyn, P., Demiralp, E., Park, J., Lee, D.S., Lin, N., et al. (2013) Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. PLoS ONE, 8(8): e69841. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

  15. Tong, S. T., Heide, B. V., Langwell, L., & Walther, J. B. (2008). Too Much of a Good Thing? The Relationship Between Number of Friends and Interpersonal Impressions on Facebook. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(3), 531-549. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00409.x

  16. Hill, R. A., & Dunbar, R. I. (2003). Social network size in humansHuman Nature, 14(1), 53-72. doi:10.1007/s12110-003-1016-y