Facebook, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Yelp (where we currently have a great Yelp Deal running), Google Plus, texting, blogging, emailing….. the list of social media sites goes on and on and on. When you have a business, (and even if you don’t) technology, and it’s accompanying applications are inherent in your day to day tasks. Add to that your personal texts, instant messages, calls and emails, and it’s easy to spend a LOT of time in front of a screen these days. Everyone knows that it’s wise to take a break from all of it and “unplug” once in a while; decompress; actually talk to someone face to face, even. But how often do you actually take the time to do it?
For example, in the photo at the top of this page, taken in our tiny office at our Chestertown bed and breakfast, you can see the laptop that this post was written on; a land-line telephone, a cellular telephone, a tablet, a credit card machine and a rolodex. (Wait, what is that doing there?? I almost never use it: if I don’t know the number by heart, it just seems natural – and even quicker-to look it up online…doesn’t it??) Oh, and there’s that quaint little bulletin board in the background. It gives the office a little warmth! All these tools encourage multi-tasking (which personally, I am against: too easy to make a mistake, but sometimes you just have to take the cookies out of the oven while taking a reservation on your cordless phone). We are constantly being pulled in different directions making it difficult to focus and really connect with others.
But here is a story of real connection and warmth running through those internet tubes:
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you probably know about the 8 Broads in the Kitchen, a group of 8 friends who happen to be innkeepers, one of whom happens to be Danielle. They met electronically: that is, they are all members of an online forum for innkeepers and had been corresponding for years before actually meeting in person. Eventually, they created their own group to help promote their inns and mostly to share recipes. They’re even working on a cookbook.
So the social media technology has, in this case, led to some close and lasting friendships. Yes, for the most part they communicate online and only get together a few times a year, if that. They are innkeepers after all, without a lot of downtime. But this month, they had the chance to do some old fashioned and in person social networking and actually went on a trip to France together!! One of the broads (it’s ok, I can call her that!) bid on and won the trip at a conference earlier this year. It quickly became a group outing and this last week or so they have been eating and drinking their way across the south of France. Sounds rough, doesn’t it? (I am expecting chocolates, by the way).
Unfortunately, 2 of the 8 Broads in the Kitchen could not make the trip (I feel your pain, Debbie and Kathryn). But they were there in spirit, and apparently….
they were there on card stock as well! How SWEET is that??
So hopefully they will come back rested and refreshed, full of new recipes to share, and chocolates. Lots and lots of chocolates.