Each month in 2014 will have a specific theme which will tie together everything we do from designs, events and everything in between. Helen kicked off the year in January with Clarity. Now, we’re starting February with a focus on Connection.

Building real connection is something important (and very different) for each of us. Whether with friends, family, lovers or strangers - the impact of these connections can be profound. Perhaps this is why in the US alone, we are okay with collectively spending over 230 thousand years worth of time on social media in a single month. The past decade has brought a plethora of new technologies that have introduced instant ways of connecting to our fingertips. They have also enabled a continuous and immediate feedback loop of sugar rush acknowledgements. And this is where we need to become more aware. 

Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. These tools each represent ways to supplement and manage more human connections than ever. These social tools are likely to get better and better at mimicking the real thing, but what happens when they become full replacements for real human relationships? The Hollywood production Her opens a huge conversation of where this could lead in the not-so-distant future.

To be fair, technology has facilitated remarkable things in this realm, too. It’s allowed me to see my nieces in Kenya grow up over the past years and to reunite with friends from high school. But most importantly, it has helped me to fully appreciate the difference between depth and breadth of connections.  It feels great to get likes or RT’s but like a sugar rush, once they pass I’m not left with much except a craving for more of the same. This example perfectly describes the cycle in which we seem to get stuck.

Karen Van Bergen sums it up particularly well in her Huffington Post article, “Where Should We Meet?”: "More than we care to admit, we now pay for the ease and frequency of our communication with the depth of our relationships… The irony, of course, is that our vanishing connection to each other is actually driven by our deep need to connect.”

Living in NYC combined with all these social tools makes it very easy to just hop from introduction to introduction at the expense of building depth of connection. At Holstee, one way we keep the need for depth in balance is by to host bi-monthly dinners, where we invite both longstanding and new friends to sit around a dinner table, talk together and open the door for real, genuine human connection.

In summation, breadth of connection seems to happen more naturally but depth of connection is something we need to consciously and constantly build. What are some ways you do this in your life?

Other inspirations for this post came from:

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