I am dismayed but also hopeful. When pendulums swing in one direction, they inevitably swing back the other way. Why the dismay? I have noticed during the past few years that businesses, individuals, and society are configuring themselves to minimize human contact. Office workers don’t want to return to in-person work. If you have a need to call your airline’s baggage claim or have a problem with a product, it is next to impossible to reach a human being. You encounter automated menu after automated menu, eventually getting an option to talk with someone, only to be transferred to that line and a recorded message says: “I am sorry, all associates are busy. Good-bye.”
During COVID, restaurants stopped providing printed menus. Of late, I have encountered the next stage in this evolution: you sit at a table, use the QR code to read the menu, then you need to order on your phone, and later pay on your phone. Nobody comes to greet you at your table, answer questions about meal options, or check on how you are doing.
And, at restaurants (or elsewhere), how often have you seen those seated around the table texting rather than talking with one another? And, folks may text with each other at that same table.
I have recently worked with several groups that build websites or create content for social media. Their work is excellent, but they have built processes whereby direct human interaction is minimized. These vendors send texts, or use Voxer, or send mini-videos explaining what they have done. No longer do we have regular calls to discuss the work and brainstorm on next steps. It may add efficiency to their process, but, it minimizes human contact nonetheless.
I am also hopeful, as every pendulum swings back in the other direction. I don’t know if society and businesses will change what they do. We, as individuals or as families can disconnect and re-connect. At our ranch (@MadroneSpringsRanch, www.MadroneSpringsRanch.com ), we invite our guests to disconnect so that they can connect with one another. Spend time in nature and be nurtured—by being out of doors on many miles of trails, by swimming, eating fresh healthy comfort food, relaxing in a spa overlooking the creek, doing yoga in the yoga studio, or just relaxing and napping. And share those experiences with each other-not by social media, but by looking at your friends and loved ones, laughing, telling tales, and connecting!
I hope that the pendulum will swing back and that my hopefulness will grow and my dismay decrease. Let’s find a chance to nurture in nature, and connect while dis-connecting!
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