One of the reasons I love events, such as this week’s Employee Benefits Connect, is the opportunity to meet with so many people face to face.
Despite having, what I would consider to be, a relatively sociable job, these days I seem to spend more time communicating via email, Twitter and LinkedIn rather than in person, or even by phone.
But, despite this, I really do feel there is no substitute for meeting someone in person, be it catching up with old friends and acquaintances, or getting to know lovely new ones.
It is for this reason that the closing keynote session at this year’s EB Connect really resonated with me.
In this, Dave Coplin, chief envisioning officer of Microsoft, addressed the issue of the digital deluge we all face on a daily basis thanks to the technological advances we’ve seen in recent years.
He explained how we should be reconsidering how we use technology to make it work for us, rather than serving as a distraction, which can actually separate us from people rather than bringing us closer, as per its intent.
“Technology is getting in the way of our lives. As good as technology is at connecting people who are physically separated, increasingly it’s disconnecting people who are in the same space.
“We’re the first generation of the digital society. We’re still figuring out how this adds value to our lives. “
How many of us, for example, are guilty of emailing colleagues sitting in the same office?
Or for (often rather smugly) feeling that we’re fully up to date with close friends’ lives – only to realise that this is due to reading their Facebook and Twitter updates rather than actually having spoken to them?
I know I’m guilty of both counts, far more frequently than I’d care to admit.
Growing up in the 90s, a well-known phone company frequently told us ‘It’s good to talk’.
I think that slogan still holds true today – perhaps more than ever.