Recently, I had the very good fortune of interviewing Waylon Lewis in a Google+ Hangout (video call):
We chatted for some time about the Google+ platform (I use Google+ a lot, by the way, as an independent blogger), and it got me thinking of how technology is transforming our consciousness and urging us to find our “tribes” online.
Seth Godin explains this idea well,
“the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change.”
In an attempt to find my “tribe”, I have spent the past two years of my life ‘living’ on Google+, in a community of like-minded folk, who I get to learn from. All of this technology talk probably makes me sound like a geek. Which is true, I am a geek, but it is not just technology that I love, it is the people, conversations and perspectives, too.
And here is the other thing, I also love comedy. Whilst my stand-up is somewhat amateur (my live gigs are often played out in a far smaller setting than a 150 capacity venue, in the basement of a bar or restaurant in San Francisco), I’m able to reach a much larger audience on the Internet. See, my comedy plays out to an audience on Google+ in every quick, vaguely amusing comment I make on a Google+ post or in a Google Hangout. This platform gives me the opportunity to ‘play’ in a way like never before.
For those who don’t know what Google+ is all about, Google has added a social layer (I think I had a promiscuous friend I called that once!) across their products and services. And guess what? We are that social layer. Yes, you and I, and every interaction we have whilst we are part of the incredible Google ecosystem.
Okay, so that sounds like an advert for Google+, right? Well, it is not meant to be, it is just my way of saying this technology will bring us together with others, who we either know already, or want to know on a deeper level.
So, how can we find our “tribe”?
Google+ has tens of thousands of vibrant communities just waiting to be discovered. Whether it be some like-minded folks talking about the esoteric significance of Star Wars or the most challenging asana to do on a cold winter’s morning or the ways we can improve our lives through good food and quality relationships. There is something for everyone on Google+.
To get started, build a Google+ account here.
From there, look for the communities symbol, then search for whatever comes to mind. Just run with it for a while, explore your interests and most of the time you will find public communities which you can join with just a click of the button.
Once you’ve done that, simply start chatting with people about the content. Let people know you are a newbie and they will usually be super friendly and willing to help out.
Next, “Plus Your Life” (This is my own personal development community—loads of great content and events).
Taking it up a level…
Explore the Google Hangouts realm. It is through Google Hangouts that we get face to face, eyeball to eyeball and even, wait for the hippy bit…energetically connected. “Wow! Hippy statement of the year award goes to…”
In all seriousness, I know elephant journal reader’s can take this on board. We all know we are connected, we can feel it, we can sense it, we can know it. Google Hangouts allow us to push this a little further—the speed at which we can connect, and the depth at which we can experience, is phenomenal.
So, back to Waylon. It was through humour (yes, with a ‘U’, the guy at immigration asked me to turn in all U’s when I arrived at the border, but I snuck in about 15 of them for use whilst I am here, which will help me to make my time here more colourful. Darn it, 13 left now…) that myself and Waylon connected. Sure, we spoke about Buddhism, mindfulness and our daily lives, but that content can be a little dry without a good laugh to break it up. Without levity, I myself become far too dull.
I have no idea where I first heard it, but I recall that it is very hard to hate someone with whom we’ve had a really good laugh. There is some kind of release that occurs, the barriers drop, we allow ourselves to let go a little. Like an orgasm, or a sneeze. Although I hear that doing all three at the same time can be exhilarating, it is not recommended without supervision, and possibly a mop. I digress.
It is not all laughter, of course, it is a full spectrum of human experience; we have to confront ourselves on our journey to connecting with perspectives that are alien to our own. We need to shake out our cobwebs of habituated perception. We need to allow others to be right too.
I believe connecting via technology and Google+ will be a transformative experience for all who embrace it. And, If you listen to the guys at Google, like Vic Gundotra, they say they are just getting started!
Overall, I hope my words have shown that Google+ is not just for geeks, it is for all humans looking for a new type of connection.
On a final note, as I always say, “never listen to anyone who quotes themselves.” Instead, taste it for yourself and I hope you enjoy the flavour. (Darn it, only 12 left…)
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Editor/Photos: Rachel Nussbaum