The savvy, 30 year old, architect and community advocate blew my stereotype of the younger generation’s love of social media when he expressed a longing for conversation around the dinner table with friends. His lament was not about working so much that there was not time for such interactions; it was about the existent culture of contact through social media rather than real-life connections. His remark was echoed a couple of weeks later by my 13 year-old grand-daughter, Augustine. She loves her IPhone and texting with her friends is a way of life after school. I was surprised to hear her unsolicited observation that she is not that happy with all the texting or even the phone calls; she would prefer more face to face time.
Are these isolated and passing moments of unhappiness with the wired world we live in? Or is the upsurge in technology advancements and constant social media shifting the Earth on her axis? I’m not sure, but I’m leaning towards the latter. This belief is supported in part by my experience with the Operation Bon Appétit fundraising dinner that offered good food, wine and conversation with like-minded folks and had such a strong response that I had to shut down reservations. If I am right, then Operation Bon Appétit Dinners has a delicious side effect of face time with friends.
The aforementioned architect was part of a focus group about the Operation Bon Appétit TV Series that had several participants from Tampa’s Urban Charrette, a collaborative of professionals committed to shaping a sustainable community. The group was enthusiastic about the OBA idea, something we kind of expected to hear, but they offered two comments that did surprise us:
- Entertaining is a dying art and OBA offers through its food, tablescapes, and conversations an opportunity to revive it.
- In person connection is something we all want despite our growing technological connection.
The Operation Bon Appétit focus group was held over dinner and wine, naturally, at the home of Cultural Innovations Agency’s board member Judy Ryan. The conversation flowed easily and in the process group members got to know one another better. It was a very enjoyable evening and that is what prompted the above comments. It was very tempting to schedule a follow-up dinner just to continue the fun.
The very same reaction of “wow, this was fun, let’s do it again” was what occurred at the OBA fundraising dinner. Guests, including those who did not know one another previously, connected over mutual interests and did not want the evening to end.