April 21, 2010

Face to Face

The Internet was invented in 1989 and with that came the birth of the cyber world. Through online messaging and emails, our world found a new, faster way of "talking" without the hassle of having to meet face-to-face or dial the phone. Saving time and money (and perhaps some awkward moments), online interaction has greatly changed the way we interact with one another. Even this week, as thousands of flights across Europe have been cancelled due to the Iceland volcano, people are still able to resume work via video chat. Even in extreme natural disasters, it seems that the Internet does not fail us in getting our jobs done. 

We are so accustomed to the cyber world that online interaction has possibly become the main form of interaction, from both a personal and professional level. Even our free time has become dependent on online media as there are endless forms of online entertainment.

As communication today is more about convenience, speed, and efficiency, when is physical interaction appropriate and how much of it is needed nowadays? The Internet makes it increasingly easier to find specific people; whether it's reuniting with an old classmate, finding a community that shares a common interest, or researching a potential employer through an online network. 

However, while it is true that the Internet allows us to engage with a wider group of people in an efficient time, this kind of networking only touches the surface of one's true personality and identity. Yes, online networking is important, especially in the times we are living in, but perhaps we need to reevaluate our physical interactions and find more meaningful, unique ways of meeting new people in our community. In a society that is so technologically advanced and culturally diverse, there should be some more creative, exciting ways of meeting interesting locals around our town.

As New York City is one of the most crowded and busiest places in the world, many would assume that it's the last place where people want to spend more time with one another. However, New Yorkers are so busy with work that the majority of their time is spent alone. How great is our social skills if we don't even know the name of our next door neighbor?

So maybe we should all take a step out of our comfort zones and try something new for a change. Below are some of the trends we've spotted in New York City that may be worth checking out:

 Lobby of the Ace Hotel via: Trip Advisor
1. Communal Table Dining
New York Ace Hotel
Le Pain Quotidien
Gusto Organics
Tarallucci E Vino

2. Social Gatherings and Events
NYC: Invitations
New York Social Sports Club

Park Slope Food Coop via: NY Times
3. Local Green Initiatives
Sustainable NYC
Park Slope Food Coop
Green Guerillas
Green Hill Food Coop

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