Why don’t you just…get out and do something more interesting instead
Borrowed from the British TV programme of the 1970’s and 80’s that exhorted a nascent generation of TV addicts to do more interesting stuff. Different times, there were only 3 TV channels – Channel 4 was not launched until 1982 – and there was a total shut-down on Sunday evenings! Cyberspace lived in the realm of Science Fiction, and people didn’t live there 🙂
I guess we are all part of the problem now; us bloggers, web surfers, couch potatoes and social media addicts*. We can easily forget that our Customers, the people who consume our content, and buy our products or services, our neighbours, friends and family live in the real world. The [communication] skills that enable us to talk, listen, interact socially, non-verbally and physically (being physically present) are much more highly evolved than our learnt – and to some extent unnatural – behaviour in cyberspace.
(*Ed. yes this is a bona fide condition, The Huffington Post says so!)
In fact spending too much time here can adversely affect our ability to function there (the real world). Read and weep at this story, I’m sure there are thousands of similar experiences and examples of C21st angst.
I live near the Suffolk Heritage Coast between Ipswich and Woodbridge, an area with a fascinating history and unique landscape. Here are some interesting things about Ipswich, the County Town of Suffolk and the surrounding countryside of my adopted little corner of East Anglia:
- Suffolk is famous for ‘3Ps’, Pylons, Pigs and Pink Houses.
- Thomas Wolsey, a butcher’s son from Ipswich, rose to become Cardinal and chief minister to Henry VIII. His Tudor house is still in the town, but sadly not the University he planned to build to rival Oxford and Cambridge.
- In the Middle Ages Dunwich was one of the biggest cities and trading ports in the UK, now all but a few houses have been lost to the sea.
- A regular visitor to the unique coastal heaths and waterways of Suffolk is the Avocet, the poster-bird of the RSPB.
- There are no motorways in Suffolk, but Felixstowe is home to the biggest container port in the UK.
- Ipswich Town football club has had two of the best England national team managers (US coaches). Sir Alf Ramsey who won the World Cup, and Sir Bobby Robson who didn’t.
- Ransomes built the world’s first commercial powered lawnmower in Ipswich in 1902.
You see my point? All these things are about people, geography, history, sport, engineering, transport and other real stuff. As an introvert and techie I have to make a conscious effort to get out and talk to people, but technology can help to connect people digitally as well as physically and emotionally.
Here is another list of groups and events that I have come across in recent days, months and years. Apologies if you do not live in Suffolk!
- I was in Ipswich town centre yesterday and came upon a small free ‘Design for Business’ festival promoting graphical design and various web-based services by and for local businesses (and prompting this post!) The organisers were www.reddi.co.uk and www.ipswichrecreate.org
- I joined Bookcrossing in 2003, and soon started meeting fellow bibliophiles in person to share and ‘release’ real books. An on-line virtual community has spawned monthly face-to-face meetings, a book group and national conference (In Oxford in April 2015). See www.bookcrossing.com and my profile as ‘bookgroupman’
- If bookcrossing is not geeky enough for you, try Geocaching, some real friends of mine do. There was a big ‘Pi day’ event last weekend…I don’t pretend to know what goes on, but I think smart phones and badges are involved! www.geocaching.com
- Park running is big and getting bigger. The Ipswich event will be moving from its winter location in Christchurch Park to Chantry Park in a couple of weeks. As well as the main site used for registering for runs, seeing stats and organising volunteer marshals the Facebook group is used to share photos of runners looking in pain! www.parkrun.org.uk/ipswich
- Me and my family have used online charity and memorial websites several times. What better way to connect to people and events, both locally and the whole world.
- SIMS is a lively networking group based in Ipswich (Suffolk Internet Marketing Specialists). They have monthly networking events and talks on subjects such as Email marketing, SEO, and how to look good on your vlog!
- The relatively new university in Ipswich helped me to carry out some MSc research with Business School undergraduates. In 2014 they held an international computer games conference and have Computer Games Design and Programming degrees. How cool is that!
So, I suggest switching off your computer, leaving cyberspace (for a little while), and doing something more interesting instead! After you have commented on this blog post of course 🙂
(c) 2015 Antony Lawrence CBA Ltd.