In his book titled “Bowling Alone” Robert Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures… and how we may reconnect.
Mr. Putnam warns that our stock of social capital – the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. Putnam draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We’re even bowling alone. More Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues.
Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women’s roles and other factors have contributed to this decline.
In fact, fewer members are taking the time to attend club meetings (down 58%). Family dinners are down (33%) while friends coming over to dinner is down (45%).
On a personal note, I’ve caught myself feeling like a “social buffoon” on more than one occasion. This is not a good thing nor am I proud of it. Recently I have found myself choosing tables for two in the corner for my wife and me. That may sound strange from a man who makes a living speaking with large groups of people.
With this in mind, let’s make it our business to add a little more “High Touch” to our “High Tech” world. Let’s make a concerted effort to get out of our cozy comfort zones and into the faces of those people who mean something to us. This group includes prospects, clients, employees, family and friends.
Follow my lead. Make a few more 1-1 phone calls and stop “cocooning” thinking that email is all that is required to maintain sound relationships.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.