Getting back to personal …

There is something good about going out and having a fun time, and meeting new people – you are surrounded by people who are like you and who are different than you, you are  introduced to new ideas and you are forced to dialogue. And I mean “forced” in a totally good way. We need to communicate with each other. We, as a society, need a way to engage with each other instead of looking down at our phones and reading texts.

Our society and our economy, collectively, are in a bad place right now. And I really believe it’s up to individuals, collectively, to rally and do something about it. We may be short on cash, but we’ve got a few things to offer each other in our communities – human capital. Which comes from forming, nurturing and even rekindling relationships with people.

My friend’s husbands said some pretty prophetic stuff while I was home in the D.C. area last week. Both of my friends are small-business-owners, one is a woman I’ve known since the sixth grade, who is moving forward with her own photography business. We both agreed this – money isn’t easy to come by.

But her husband said this: in some ways we have to go back to what people in the colonial times did – barter goods and services in lieu of money. We can’t do it all the time to replace capital, but we can give someone a start by saying hey, if you can do some web work for me, I’ll shoot some photos for you. And we can engage each other’s strengths and skills in doing this.

Another husband of a friend of mine recently lamented that we, as individuals, isolate ourselves within our society.

It made me think of something that Kelly Cutrone wrote in “If You Have To Cry, Go Outside”:

“I believe the breakdown of the tribal system is responsible for much of the sickness in the world today.”

We don’t see tribes anymore. We don’t have a group of people surrounding us who can help us out and who can guide us and give us a chance, not just in the bad times but during times of prosperity. You know the whole saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Consider it – it’s a symbiotic thing. And why is it that the only way we find out who is truly in our corner is during a crisis?

Which leads me to the outing last night, in which I got to see some valued friends and former coworkers, and met some really cool people who granted me the privilege of some great dialogue – and even inspired me to write this post.

At one point there a lengthy conversation about the role that social media and social networking is playing in our society, and another conversation about how I recognized so many people from their Twitter avatars but was just meeting them in real life. (Is that bad?)

A consensus was reached: We can use these tools not so much as a means of communication, but as a way to facilitate a more valuable form of social networking – face-to-face communication.

And, hopefully, to build relationships.

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