Friday, September 27, 2013

Novelist Edward Cozza Encourages Offline Connections

Edward Cozza, an award-winning contemporary novelist, is just that, a fiction writer. But he's seen so much correlation between the characters of his book Nowhere Yet and the plight of so many in his social strata, that he's launching a movement called Unplug & Connect, with the intent of helping those past the millennial stage in life find balance between digital and online worlds.

"People aren't really spending time with each other anymore," says Cozza. "Have you seen a table full of people at a restaurant and no one is talking to each other--they are all texting or swiping the whole time. There's a place for that, but it isn't when you have your best friends in front of you, or a spouse, or a client even."

He goes on to say that there is a place for technology in our social lives, but his movement is to help people stay mindful of time spent with one another.

"Leave your smart phone in the car when you are meeting friends for a fine bourbon. Enjoy the visceral experience of the atmosphere, your friends' voices and personalities. There's nothing wrong with texting them to make sure they got home OK when the night is over. It's just about balance. It's an art, you know?"

How do we join a movement about unplugging that launches online? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Cozza responds: "There's room in our lives for social media, for blogs, maybe (maybe not) the 24/7 newscycle, but does it all have to happen instead of writing a letter, picking up the phone to make a call, or inviting a friend to lunch? I'm no preacher, teacher, or carnival barker--I can just see the writing on the Facebook Wall, if you get my drift. There's a way to combat loneliness, and that's to engage with real people when there's something great going on in your lives. And even when there"s not."

Many people may be at the point where they are asking themselves if they really need 275 friends to "Like" their new baby photos. Or to get retweeted 17 times for a job promotion. Maybe you'd just like a real, live pat on the back, a drink and a few minutes of your friends' time.

For more information, check out Ed Cozza's Facebook page, and then turn off the computer and head out for a walk with a friend, or a coffee with your sister, or a dinner with a colleague from work...

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