All these digital ways of connecting to people feels like there a lot of folks in your life, but really, day-to-day, are there people you connect with in person? Beyond work, beyond family, what about the pedestrian on the street? When have you last talked to your neighbor?
I see too many people walking around texting and talking to someone not present when many people are milling right about them. This isn’t a new observation, many see it too. But is anyone making an effort to get to know the person right in their vicinity?
I’ve seen some novel attempts, like treasure hunts you engage in throughout your neighborhood, picking up clues from stores and sights which does allow for more interaction with shopkeepers then you usually would have.
But what if the treasure hunt was geared toward getting to know the people. Hearing their stories. What are their world views?
Then there is the Conversation Cafe movement, but in the town I live in there is just one gathering out of the hundreds of cafes. I’ll have to attend the event to see if in fact people do gather and want to exchange ideas with each other.
Flash mobs get a lot of people together, but what happens after the event? People generally disperse, and look at their phone for incoming messages.
Aaah! Frustrating. Especially living in a city. Smaller towns and communities, by their nature, generally encourage more neighborly conversation. Here’s a great link of 20 ways to get to know your neighbors.
Community organizations are probably the most appealing to me. I went to a gathering last night that talked about the co-op structure in businesses to help create a better world. But it was more a talk than a socializing event. Icebreaking exercises needed to be encouraged. But it was a step in the right direction.
Meetup.com has done wonders as well for getting people together. It’s another step in the right direction.
Another revolutionary idea would be to leave that smart phone home for the day and walk your neighborhood with the intent on making connection. Finding some local events would be good to put on the agenda as well as stopping for some coffee or tea and mingling for awhile.
Other ideas? I’m open to suggestions, which is ironic, because those suggestions will come through the social media of a blog! Gotta love it.