Get Closer by Moving Away

Web 2.0 amazes me. I mean, not like a magician making your Aunt levitate but in its appeal to the masses. In one way it is drawing us closer together but in another it seems we are moving further and further apart. We are getting closer by moving away.

Let me explain.

As a country lad (that’s why I speak slowly!), I grew up in a town of about 2,000 people. We didn’t have many people to speak to so you spoke to everyone. Everyone knew what everyone else was doing. There was even the local paper (that came out once a week) which updated you if you didn’t know. The Australian comedian Hughsey recently gave a rant about the town.

Things are different in the city. You are surrounded by people and are always alone. People don’t talk to their neighbours. We rarely acknowledge passers by. Technology has made it even worse. Protected by the cocoon of our iPod or MP3 player we blissfully ignore the rest of the world. We sit behind our computers or play our video games minimising human contact.

In fact, we have disconnected so much that we are challenged in communicating difficult news. We end a relationship via Text, resign from our job via email, have sick days via text or leave voice mail messages so we don’t have to face the person we are talking to.

Along comes Web 2.0.

All this time we are alone builds our desire to genuinely connect – but we can’t handle the rejection if it doesn’t work. The technology can act as a great barrier and we can connect without risk. You can Twitter someone on the other side of the world, have a couple of short 140 character jokes and all is good. You can post things on Facebook, MySpace and you Blog to let the world know what you think (hey I have two blogs!! This one and the Trade Show one – double the nerd!) You can link with people on FaceBook and Linked in. You may even have thousands of connections, friends, affiliates, followers without realising it is more than the population of my home town!! You may even break out of the 140 character restriction and email your new friend.

Want to surprise someone? Offer to meet them in person! If they agree to meet, you will find one thing. To be more precise, I found one thing. People will be more open via technology then face to face. We don’t like putting ourselves at risk. We can’t delete the post, change the blog content or take back what we said.

My challenge and one that I issue you is to be authentic. Just be you. People will love it and will love (or at least like a lot) you for doing it. The other challenge is to talk to your neighbours. Tweet them in real life. Chat to the people on the train. People down the street. You don’t have to be deep and meaningful but while technology is great, NOTHING beats human connection!


Warwick Merry
The Get More Guy

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