Today I am feeling inspired by the people around me.
More specifically, I am inspired by those who live with the intention to connect with those around them, those who create a sense of belonging both for themselves and others, those who value the concept of community. By our very nature we are social creatures, and I feel that as a society (specifically the millennial generation) our social lives are both on over-drive, but at the same time a little lost.
Recently, through my work, I supported a webinar that featured a neighbourhood project out west called Abundant Community Edmonton. While on this webinar, Anne Harvey from the City of Edmonton said something that struck me – she said that "as communities we have lost the art of neighbourliness." I began to think about this and Anne couldn’t be more right. Although there are many people, associations and groups that volunteer their time create a sense of community where they live, the reality is that the majority of us have truly lost the art of neighbourliness. In a world where we are capable of being connected to one another on a constant basis – we seem to be so disconnected.
I strongly believe that community doesn’t have to be where you reside, although for many people it is – community is about where we spend our time and where we create connections and build relationships. So the question that arises is this: How do we bring the art of neighbourliness online?
I am also a strong believer in the positive potential of technology and social media, however, I think it’s time we take a step back and reflect on how we exist in our corners of the universe. Now is as good a time as any to make our online worlds just a little more meaningful.
To you, my fellow millennials, I extend a challenge!
10 things you can do to bring the art of neighbourliness online:
- See something you love? Share it with someone else
- Did someone else’s post inspire you, motivate you or just make you smile? Let them know they made your day
- Bring the connection offline – is there someone you’re constantly connecting with online? Ask them to grab a drink or go for coffee
- Out in public and you see that person you’ve been creeping? Smile and say hello! Let them know you recognize them from the dance videos they post, the hilarious selfies they take or the inspirational words they share – let’s be real we don’t post just to post, we post to share with others, let’s stop pretending it’s weird to acknowledge that!
- Notice someone’s posts have been a little blue? Reach out to them.
- Find something online you think someone else really needs to see – tag them in it!
- Remember to always be purposeful in what you post and acknowledge the impact
- Don’t just creep – connect
- And when you do creep, focus on the positive – allow what others share to brighten your mind and let go of judgement or negativity
And last but not least, never forget the value of attentive face-to-face connection and real human experience – implement the cellphone pile once in a while!