GETTING TO KNOW YOU

An NCTA-sponsored happy hour at Palio D’Asti in San Francisco.

BY MARY WESSLING, PhD

Question: What does a recent (April 22) New York Times “Week in Review” section have to do with NCTA Happy Hours? Answer: It speaks to a problem for which the solution is—a Happy Hour with friends and colleagues. Well, I’ll admit that it’s only part of the solution, but why miss an opportunity to tell you about another of NCTA’s great offerings. The article got my attention not because it’s new news (the sociologist Sherry Turkle has written an entire book about the topic) but because the accompanying illustration depicted a scene I’ve observed only too frequently of late: people sitting together in the same space with a variety of digital gadgets, and not the people, but what’s going on virtually, are the object of attention. We love our computers, our smart phones, our iPads because they offer us increased efficiency, and a source of entertainment to push away occasional boredom. But they don’t replace, and in fact can hinder, interaction with friends, family, colleagues. The NCTA Happy Hours offer a way to get to know people beyond their virtual personality. We’ve recently added a Happy Hour location in Burlingame. Long-standing HHs happen in Berkeley and San Francisco. As for me, I’m pushing for one in Monterey. MW

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