Unplugged, Opera, and Networks

I ran a little experiment the last few days. It seemed like a good time to unplug from the web for a while. My step-son got married Friday so we had a rehearsal dinner on Thursday and company on Saturday. With that in mind, I decided to unplug totally for 96 hours.

Guess what? As far as I can tell, it didn't cause any kind of rift in the cosmos. I did check my phone a couple of times and noticed that I needed to talk to one person Sunday and I was also anxious to find out how Megan did in the North American Festival of Wales in Pittsburgh this weekend so I checked on that.

Among Megan's many talents is that she sings opera. And, she sings in the Welsh language. It turns out she took first place and she will now be singing in the 2010 National Eisteddfod of Wales. She won a free trip and a chance to represent the United States.

But, other than those two transgressions, I managed to stay unplugged. Now, I'm struggling to determine what, if anything, I've learned from the experiment. Here is what I think I think:

  1. Unless I've committed to do something that forces me to use the computer (a project, book deadline, etc.) and being connected there is no absolute reason why I have to be connected 24×7.
  2. There is plenty of time to do the things I sometimes say I don't have time to do. Fishing or golf for example. I have all the time there is and I can choose to unplug the computer cord and plug into the water or golf course.
  3. Being part of a network has replaced many other social interactions. We do our socializing within our online communities. At the wedding I observed that every person under the age of 25 was texting or emailing almost non-stop for hours. Even while dancing they had their cell phones shooting photos they would then send to friends. They even texted to each other in the same room. Does this mean the end of communities as I knew them growing up? Will online communities replace neighbors, friends, and family as our social communities? Has it already happened?

I asked these questions the other day in a blog post:

  • What's happened to us that we have become so focused on our own lives
    and to hell with the lives of our neighbors?
  • Are we afraid to become
    connected to each other?
  • Is it because nobody has any time these days
    to be social?

We're not afraid to connect to each other via an online social network – that's for sure. I think people desperately want to connect. They want to matter to other people. They want to matter so much that I think they are afraid not to be connected to their online social network 24×7.

And, finally, I realized that I was afraid to pull the plug for those 96 hours. I was afraid I might miss something important. I wondered if people would notice I wasn't online or writing. What if they didn't care? What would it mean if I discovered I didn't care?

My experiment and my experience at the wedding seems to have raised more questions than answers for me. I love the social networks, the interaction of their members, and the collaboration they bring for both work and play. But, at the same time, I miss the actual face-to-face connections. I miss the community of friends and neighbors who used to look out for each other and nurture each other.

Do today's social networks allow us to really know each other?

Do we really want to anymore or are we afraid of the responsibility that knowing someone – caring for someone – brings with it?

2 thoughts on “Unplugged, Opera, and Networks”

  1. Being only 20 myself, i’m very much part of the “digital generation”. In your previous post where you spoke about having spontaneous parties at neighbours houses etc, that concept is so foreign to me i can’t even imagine living in a world like that. I live in a unit block of about 50 units, and i couldn’t tell you the name of a single other person that lives there. Apart from a smile and nod occassionally if you intercept someone in the lift, i’ve never interacted with any of them. We’re all so busy getting on with out lives that the concept of networking socially, outside of a computer screen, scares us! I think there’s two sides to the argument also. For example, i can keep in touch, and up to date with my friends and their lives easily and regularly, often at the click of a mouse. But it makes you wonder about the depth of these communications. Often its just trivial stuff or status updates etc. I guess one of the main reasons most people like facebook is they can keep up to date with what’s going on in their friends lives, without actually talking to them! Which brings us to the next problem, why don’t we like talking to people anymore?!?! Using business as an example, i’m huge on building relationships with clients, but for some reason would much rather drop someone an email, rather than get on the phone and call them. I’m aware that’s not the way to build relationships, yes email has it’s place, but not when it comes to building relationships. Because of this, i need to force myself to pick up the phone instead of taking the easy way out and emailing. You’ve bought up a very interesting point Bob, thank you.

  2. Thank you, Melissa, for your comment and for being willing to share your thoughts and feelings. I quoted you in today’s blog post. Let’s see what others think.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap