You don’t have to search long to find some astounding statistic about how much data is accumulating daily in the world thanks to technology and the growing norm of connectivity between people and networks. You could easily spend your day just reading volumes of information and data that come at you via email, social networks and other media, not to mention taking time to actually read books, magazines and other resources you want to spend time absorbing.
Since my professional world and much of my personal world revolves around social media, it is easy to get focused on the transmission of data. When that happens, attention to articles, graphics, statistics, polls, reports, blogs, tweets, posts, etc. crowds out having actual conversations with others. That’s a shame.
This came home to me recently when some colleagues in a professional organization I belong to were chatting via Twitter. Most of us confessed to using Twitter to pass along links to articles and other info, but not enough just to chat with others. Since then I have been more mindful about responding more often at a personal level to people on Twitter than I have previously. It doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue on Facebook where comments are far more common.
We hear much about big data and trends that focus on information rather than people. That isn’t going to change, so I’m not here to bemoan the trend. I do want, however, to remind others and myself that in the midst of the inevitable immersion of data, we need to take time to chat with others – to work on the simple thing of developing relationships and friendships with those along our path. This is true whether it’s with people we know only via social media or if they are coworkers nearby in the office.
We’re still human. That means we need to connect with others at a deeper level than just professional or informational transactions. We need the personal touch that brings meaning and joy to a world dominated by data. After all, I doubt I’ll leave this world wishing I had experienced better data.
Leap year lesson #346 is Take time to chat.