FastCompany.com ran a piece yesterday by freelance writer Kevin Purdy entitled “Why In-Person Socializing is a Mandatory To-Do Item” that underscores many of the points I’ve made in previous posts here at Wayward Journey on the importance of community and group interaction.
Purdy cites the work of sociologist Ray Oldenburg and the need for a “third place” that is not your home or your office.
The Third Place is a concept of Ray Oldenburg, urban sociologist and author of The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. The First Place is your home, and the Second Place is your office. You have assigned roles and tasks at each place, and you know nearly all the people in each. The Third Place is where you meet with people you don’t know that well, or maybe at all, and you exchange ideas, learn about other people, and, as Oldenburg sees it, enrich society and yourself.
Purdy also suggests that in-person interaction is key to testing out new ideas, learning to argue your case and fostering collaboration. He notes, as I have witnessed as a trade association executive, that attendance at conferences and meetings has not declined as much as expected in the digital age despite more and more people being online. In fact, as human beings we need, and thrive on, face-to-face, in-person communication.
As Purdy concludes,
In other words, humans have evolved over many, many years to be very efficient at working with, arguing with, and talking over ideas and pursuits with people, face-to-face. Social networking tools and remote technology is nowhere near as efficient (yet). So grab your calendar and add “Talk to humans” to this week’s task list.
I couldn’t agree more and would add that in-person interaction is especially critical for career-changers and budding entrepreneurs. While much of the exploration and work you do is solitary, do not neglect the social side of your life!