Your Social September

Give up a bit of online interaction for some more face-to-face connection instead

Disconnecting from technology to reconnect face to face sounds like a dream come true for luddites and a nightmare for the tech natives. Although technology exists to make our lives easier, it's essential to those who are visually impaired, those who have social anxiety issues and those seeking connections with the wider world.

I recently stumbled across social media posts from past friends in another town who were playing a free augmented reality game from Google called Ingress. This game allows you to use technology (free smartphone app) to get out in the real world, walk around and discover and potentially meet people using the same app. The game gravitates people to public places like libraries, parks and artworks or celebrations of human achievements. The Ingress community has grown to millions of active users where they have frequent face-to-face meet ups.

Sometimes we get carried away with our work and personal lives. We worry about our immediate issues and assume everyone else has no problems. Taking time out and talking to your parents, neighbours and friends (and I mean truly talking) can be a good thing.

If you're willing to give up a bit of online interaction for some more face-to-face connection instead, check out Social September and raise money for charity. In my spare time I run a small Twitter account where I share my weather observations round my postcode. Talking about the weather has opened up connections with others in the community and I've made some great friends who I wouldn't have otherwise met. With the storm season building, I doubt I'll be giving up social media this September. But I will pledge to talk more with people around me face-to-face.

Also, for those wanting to connect with the outside without using technology there are always volunteer community groups looking for new peeps.

As a general observation, the wider public has embraced technology use, especially smartphones, to an extreme. People are using them everywhere; either reading the news, chatting with friends or just swapping cat photos. You can even do a lot of your TAFE studies online. But where possible, don't be afraid to say "hello" to strangers of any age or demographic. You may get a strange look and no reply. But if you're lucky, you may have a quick chat and get to know something about someone else's life. This can also build confidence which can help you in your next job interview or meeting. Confidence and presence comes from experience via communication.

So, who's going to get a bit more social this September?