As a member of the millennial generation, I have to admit it feels nice to have grown up while the internet and its successor tools broke down so many social and geographic barriers, pushing us into an era where it’s possible to build engaging and impactful communities online. (Where’s my trophy, am I right?)
However, while online tools made community building more accessible, they also lulled us into accepting screen-time as equal to actual-time-with-people time.
Too often, our positive, democratic community building starts and stops online. It’s the bane of our existence as a generation – birthed in AOL chat rooms, text overages, and MySpace accounts.
I ran into this exchange a few weeks ago and had one of those reality-check laughs because my husband has deployed twice and I understand sustaining on “dog cuddles”:
We’re over-connected yet disengaged from each other. And we know it.
This gap between the vast potential of online communities and our basic human need for positive face-to-face time fascinates me. It’s one of the main reasons I love the impact project we chose for this spring. It’s a HONY-inspired, grass-roots approach to creating a platform for the voices of millennials and centennials living in Hampton Roads.
We’ll be meeting Gen Y and Z-ers face-to-face, hearing their perspectives, and sharing their stories via social media. Along with bringing light to millennial issues, I hope our project will also create a small bridge between the utility of online sharing and our need for real-life connection.
The opportunity to do a project like this is what motivated me to apply to Global Shapers Norfolk back in October, and being a part of this IRL community (don’t worry, first and last time the acronym will be used in sentence) has put me in contact with people who inspire me to think bigger every day.
In the spirit of real-life community building, our hub is hosting a tableside chat at Mango Mangeaux in Hampton this Thursday, April 14th, at 6 PM and we’d like to invite you, 20 to 29 year olds of HR, to join us. We’ll be talking about Global Shapers Norfolk, what motivated each of us to join the hub, and asking for your perspectives on our region.
And of course, you can find more info on our 4/14 event and RSVP for it at our online community: Facebook.com/globalshapersnorfolk.