Positive Change in a New Media World
August 18, 2007
At Jibber Jobbber, Jason Alba recently wrote a great post about having a positive influence in the world. He asked how his readers could create positive change. That got me thinking. Of course, we can have positive change online and offline. But today, there is a real crisis of positive change through personal interaction that deepens the issue somewhat.
Think about it. In our digital age, it’s more time-effective to shoot an e-mail than to walk into the boss’s office. We don’t have enough time for anything, so we rely on MySpace to see photos of our friends’ children and get updates on their lives.
Studies show that many plugged in Americans are suffering from isolation and loneliness (link found via Modite). This is a real, emerging issue for the plugged in generations. Actually, I think it’s an issue for generations across the board.
Millennial bloggers are writing about the importance of spending time with people in real life. Marci Alboher recently touched on the immense value of the simple act of picking up the phone to call someone rather than to chat online or via e-mail. This simple act was so meaningful that the reporter she called wrote about it on her blog.
Essentially, it seems, the more wired we get, the more value we place on communication and interaction of more “traditional” forms. Think about how much you value dinner with a friend, an hour-long phone chat, or more impressive still, a hand-written letter. Something “real” in the non-digital sense of the world just seems to have so much meaning these days.
So all this has me thinking about some ways that I can have a positive effect on the people in my life – whether I know them online or offline – in ways that touch their unplugged life. Here are some ideas.
- Call or write (an actual note) to a college or career mentor you’ve lost touch with and let them know what you’re up to and how they helped get you where you are today.
- Step in to your boss’s office and take a few minutes to tell them what you appreciate about them. No brownnosing here, just an honest, in-person thank you.
- Call your dad some evening and just catch up. Better yet, meet him for dinner.
- Nominate a deserving friend or associate for an award whether at an online site or in your professional world.
- Send your mom flowers, and not on a holiday.
- Message an old high school friend you’ve reconnected to on MySpace and get their mailing address or phone number. You know what to do from there.
I’m not sure how to close this post. I want to say, this stuff should be simple, and maybe some people will tell me that it’s a “duh” thing and not worth writing about. But to them I’d say – I can tell you the last time someone did any of these to me. It meant that much. Because it happens so rarely. So there you have it.