24/7 availability. We are the most connected society ever and it’s only going to continue. Some studies have coined the phrase hyper connectivity. It’s the state of an increasingly accelerating communication environment. In my lifetime, telephones have gone from party lines (my Aunt and Uncle had a party line crank dial phone), requiring wires overhead, to wires between the base and handset, to no wires, to visible antennae to a pocket device no strings or protrusions. Communicating with friends has gone from in-person or by phone (I won’t even list snail mail) to that and more: Skype, on-line chatting, social media, and texting.
My experience the last 4 weeks has been one of connection not connectivity. I’ve had a WCP – Weekly Connection Project. At first I thought of going on one new date a week. Then I thought I’d meet one new person a week doing something unique and interesting in London. Then I thought it could be either personal or professional meetings. In the end I decide on simplicity -meet 1 new person a week. The objective was for me to meet new people here in London, to broaden my network both personally and professionally and have fun.
One example was in my yoga class. At the end of class I invited anyone to join me upstairs in the gym cafe for a tea/coffee to meet each other. The response was very surprised – some Brits were perplexed and clearly uncertain why anyone would do this and many others were encouragingly positive. Four women, all “foreigners” joined me for tea, and the instructor dropped by. Time flew, we talked for an hour and a half about how we got to the UK, what are interests were, about our families and our stories and have since said hello and chatted at subsequent classes. When I told the story to someone I met at a book club evening I went to (where I knew no one upon arrival), she said she wished someone in her yoga class would do that. I suggested she do it, and after a moment of shock she said yes, she would.
The result has been what I wanted and more. I’ve met new people, done fun things, seen new places, and stretched outside my comfort zone. And the impact on others has been more than I ever imagined. People have been so receptive, engaged and welcoming of my reaching out to connect with them – they seem to get more out of it than I do. Now I’m enjoying what it gives others more than what I get out of it. And others have told me I’ve inspired them to do the same thing as well.
My conclusion, at least from 4 weeks of experience, is that people are craving human contact and connection not just connectivity. What if you just spent a few minutes of your connectivity time on connection, what would happen? Who could you connect with – for your sake or theirs?