Why connecting and reflecting matters, from community guy & head of content marketing @ GoDaddy

Back in the early and mid 90’s, I did a lot of whitewater rafting, primarily on the Gauley River in West Virginia. Once you were in the flow, you were in the flow. No turning back. However (and this is a big however), if you were in the wrong part of the flow, things got very dicey, very quickly…sometimes with significant consequences. 

Before jumping into the flow, you need to know the direction you’re going. Just as importantly, after you come out of a particularly turbulent part of the flow, you need to look back, and think about what worked, what didn’t, and what you’re going to do next time.

– From a 2007 short post “Connect / Reflect.”

Photo credit: pthread1981 via VisualHunt / CC BY

The model of Connect/Reflect is more important than ever. While I still raft (now primarily on the American River out here in California), the idea of being able to take time to take a regular breather to disengage from the flow and reflect is critical.

This is why Camp Press matters.

Many of us in the technology industry are “in the flow,” seemingly 24/7. It’s critical to to get out from behind our devices, interact with others in actual conversation, and take time to process. With that time to reflect comes creativity and new ideas.

Join Chris and the rest of the awesome crew coming to Camp Press.
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Why an improviser, karaoke’r and webcomics lover is excited to get to camp

We asked people why they’re coming to Camp Press, we got some awesome answers. Dwayne shared his thoughts…

One of the greatest joys I have had in my life over the last few years is getting to hang out with my extended WordPress family at all the awesome WordCamps around the world. Most of the time though, I am running between sessions, manning a booth or talking shop, even at social events. I often leave events knowing what folks are working on, but not knowing much about them as people. This leaves me feeling a bit isolated — more than I like to admit.

Having a weekend to connect with people is an amazing chance to strengthen the personal bonds underlying the work we do as a community, and renew our souls. After all, each and every person I have had the chance to connect with personally has been just the best human being and I always find inspiration in such exchanges. Also, having a weekend offline, something we in the industry rarely get a chance to do, has some great appeal.

Getting back to nature, with others doing the same thing, is way overdue. And, where better to do this in nature, in the middle of America. I can’t wait for camp!

Join Dwayne and the rest of the awesome crew coming to Camp Press.
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Why core contributor, soccer player, and WWE enthusiast is excited to connect around the campfire

We asked people why they’re coming to Camp Press, we got some awesome answers. This is what Felix had to say.

When I heard about Camp Press, I knew I had to go. I’m convinced that having disconnected discussions at a campfire, together with fun activities, makes it much easier to get to know fellow WordPress people and build good relationships. Usually conversations at conferences last only for a short time, since there are so many people around and everyone tries to meet a lot of people.

Combining the small attendee limit with the more casual atmosphere, I think Camp Press allows for more conversations that go beyond what we do with WordPress. I’m looking forward to meeting interesting new people and getting to know those better that I’ve already met.

Last but not least I love to travel, and camping with a bunch of WordPress talents a few thousand miles from home sounds like a lot of fun!

Join Felix and the rest of the awesome crew coming to Camp Press.
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Why a plugin developer, public speaker, and craft beer lover plans to disconnect at Camp Press

We asked people why they’re coming to Camp Press, we got some awesome answers. Pippin had some wise words for us.

We have a habit of being so focused on our businesses and work life that we forget to set aside the screens often enough. Camp Press will be a perfect opportunity to not only get away from our digital screens for a few days, but also a chance to build deeper relationships with peers in the industry. It is the kind of event where not only good times are had but lifelong friendships are built.

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Why a WordPress dev / designer & self-proclaimed city girl is headed to camp

We asked people why they’re coming to Camp Press, we got some awesome answers. Here’s Becky’s!

I must admit I felt a bit crazy when I signed up for this camp. I’m a city girl, not a camper. But the idea of an extended hallway track, with a chance to really talk and get to know other WordPress folk really appealed to me. Like most of us, I work from home. Working for yourself has a lot of advantages, but having a chance to chat with real people IRL on a regular basis is not one of them. Sitting around a campfire with real people disconnected from technology sounds very appealing.

Besides, and this may sound bizarre for a native Chicagoan, but I’ve been looking for an excuse to get back to Oklahoma for a while now. I have lots of family and personal history in OK that I want to track down and what’s better than an epic road trip?

-Becky

Join Becky and the rest of the awesome crew coming to Camp Press.
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How to disconnect from technology, hint: it’s not as hard as you might think

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to disconnect from technology these days. From smart phones to connected watches, digital personal assistants to connected appliances, technology and our lives have so many touch-points. Heck, even that clock on my microwave is a non-yielding blast of cold digital color.

Why disconnect from technology?

Some augmentation is good, but when you end up speaking to Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or Google more than people in your home—when you end up using technology as a crutch to help you connect less rather than a tool to help you connect more effectively and more deeply, you might have a problem.

You don’t need to do something drastic to try disconnecting.

Here are five things you can try today to help you disconnect from technology. These suggestions will help give you the space between digital and real-life reality to reset and re-evaluate how to use technology to create deeper communication.

Turn off all notifications for a day

Both Android and iPhone have a do not disturb mode. Activate this mode for an entire day and see how it changes your perspective on the phone in your pocket. It’s kinda like leaving your phone at home, except with the added benefit of having it close-by in-case of an emergency.

Take all meetings in person

The first time I saw it, I could barely believe my eyes. People in the same office were using video conferencing to meet with each other. Sure you don’t have to leave the convenience of your own desk, but there are certain human mannerisms and communication subtleties that can’t be fully appreciated from the comfort of a computer screen. Spend one day conducting all intra-office meetings in person.

Eat lunch with a human

Whether you work remotely, or in an office, it can be tempting to sit on your couch or at your desk and have lunch. Instead, if you work in an office, ask an office friend or a colleague you don’t know, to grab a bite. If you work remotely, eat lunch with a friend or colleague in the same town.

Instead of Googling, phone a knowledgeable friend

Have a question about health? Technology? Science? Home repair? Instead of looking the answer up on Google, phone a friend or walk into a store. Sometimes there are tips, tricks, and context we get from humans that we don’t get from a written article.

Call instead of text

Ok, this one still involves technology, but this is a good example of using tech to connect more deeply. Texting can be impersonal and isn’t always great at conveying exactly what you’re attempting to convey (emotion, context, empathy, etc). For an entire day, if you have more than two text exchanges with someone, pick up the phone and give them a call.

Disconnecting from technology doesn’t have to be hard. These are simple steps you can take to adjust how you use technology in order to communicate more deeply.

Of course, if you’re interested in a weekend cleanse of technology, please join us at Camp Press this year. 🙂

All for now! Leave your tips on how to disconnect from technology in the comments.