The Disconnect Technology ChallengeSeptember 09, 2014

After the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, it's time for other fun events with a cause. Social September is one of those.

Social September is the brainchild Jim Stynes and Paul Currie, founders of Reach Foundation. Conceived in 1994, participants pay 75 dollars to join any of their events. The profit goes to Reach's community programs, where young people are in need of a support system. But the organisation's motto goes beyond that. It's also about you.

None of the lonely heart

Haruki Murakami is renowned for novels depicting isolation. Japanese society is the ideal setting, which undergone rapid changes after World War II. Modern technology put this Asian nation in the forefront. But it comes with a price. Murakami gives aloneness a strange twist. There's something romantic about it. ("About the Quake", a collection of short stories about the aftermath of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, is fascinating and surreal.) But reel isn't real.

It's not hard to relate to such a set-up, which is why we need more time to get away from the computer. How about the mobile phone? It seems like an extension of our limb, but we can do something about it.

Are you ready for the challenge?

What we are about to suggest is not easy to do. But struggles lead to appreciation. So let's begin:

Avoid social network. Facebook lets us keep in touch with family and mates far and away. They're a click away, but there's no substitute to real interaction. We need to be close to people, which is good for our well-being. This also applies to Twitter and other online social networking services.

Turn off the computer. A laptop (or iPad) becomes useful on the road. If you're travelling alone, then this device comes in handy. Boredom is another scenario, where computer is the most convenient way to get over it. But we become dependent on it. Not a good thing to do. (It seems close, but it's far away.)

Switch off the telly. It only takes a remote button to get access to (small-screen) entertainment. Unless you're a serious student of popular culture, spending more time in the couch isn't good to your health. There's a world out there.

Go out and meet people. Friendship isn't defined by number. On the other hand, we need solitude now and then. But people come and go. (We must keep on moving forward. It's the only way to grow.) Nothing good will come out of being alone most of the time. Look for people who share your interest(s). Invite colleagues for a drink. There are many ways, but you get the picture.

Reconnect. When you miss your family and mates, then go to social media. Chat with them, set up a meeting, and then make sure you don't have any commitment(s) on that said date.

There are creative ways of doing it. We love to hear your ideas. Better tell us quick, as we can't wait to get off and go out.

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