June 18, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm CDT
An event every day that begins at 6:00 pm, repeating until June 19, 2021
An event every day that begins at 8:30 pm, repeating until June 19, 2021
One event on June 17, 2021 at 8:30 pm
CommonSpace: Human Connection
What if, for everyone you met in your daily life, you already knew 10 things that they had shared that they would be up for talking about? And, if you wanted to, you could then select one of those possible points of connection to engage them in a conversation. For people who chose to, could we use that ability to make the world warmer, more welcoming, and better connected?
Our app CommonSpace (currently in beta) sparks human connection by inspiring in-person conversation.
Caring about the people you see in your life is important. And if it is possible to care about the people you interact with, that caring may start with getting to know those people and appreciating them as fellow human beings. CommonSpace helps that happen.
In this event, we are seeing how better knowing the person you’ve just met affects your ability to make a good connection with them. And then, we are going to see if increased human connection between you and someone else can help you better talk about a difference you may have with that other person. The difference the two of you decide to talk about may be small or large: vanilla vs. pistachio ice cream or even my 2020 presidential choice vs. your 2020 presidential choice.
CommonSpace will not sell any information you enter for this event, and CommonSpace will not share information you enter for this event with any third party service.
When you sign up, you will be sent a unique link, so you can make a password to log in the CommonSpace website. At the website, you will then make a CommonSpace, or personal profile. This is to help other people better connect with you and have good conversations. To make your CommonSpace you will be able to choose which of our hundreds of leading questions you want to answer to share about yourself. These leading questions are conveniently organized into categories. You select which leading questions you want to answer to build out your CommonSpace, or personal profile. The purpose of these answers, and your CommonSpace, is simply to share about yourself in whatever ways you feel comfortable, so other people are able to better connect with you.
This is a Zoom event. To start, there will be a brief introduction where we talk about some good ideas and ground rules for our conversations. Then we will be paired one on one with other attendees in break out rooms. There will be two different pairing sessions, each of roughly 20 minutes. You will talk to your paired impromptu conversation partner and use what you learn about each other from looking at one another’s CommonSpaces as jumping off points for connecting with each other and having a good conversation.
You and your conversation partner will get a notice when half of your breakout time has passed. At that point you can figure out a difference the two of you have and try to use the human connection you built to hopefully be able to talk about that difference a little better. After the second break out conversation pairing, we will then reconnect as a group and talk about how it went.
In that final 10 minutes, you can share any thoughts you may have about connecting to others using CommonSpace, share if knowing more about someone else affected talking about a difference with that other person, or share other feedback.
We really hope you sign up! This event will help you connect to fellow National Week of Conversation goers better and maybe help us be able to talk about some differences with more human respect and feeling.
Your participation will also help CommonSpace build a practical tool that we could scale to help create the relationship, community, and belonging we need in our lives to function better as a society.
(The above link will take you to a basic form, so that we can get you what you need to participate in this event.)
Longer background deeper dive for people who have time to read it:
The current loneliness epidemic in America* and our increasing amounts of social isolation are leading to an ever more polarized and siloed country. Research in 2018 found that 54% of American adults psychologically classify as lonely. This increased to 61% in 2019. That was before Covid and now that number is likely much, much higher. Social isolation raises a person’s average chance of dying by 29%, the same amount as having a diagnosis of Type II Diabetes.
As researched and presented by the Center for Humane Technology: Spending more time on our screens then connecting with the people we see everyday and getting fed an algorithmic worldview designed to get us staring for a longer amount of time at a social media or news platform, may make companies like Facebook, Twitter, CNN, or Fox News more money, but it does not do good for our bodies, our selves, our communities, or our Republic.
For instance, Facebook’s algorithms are designed to get a user to see things that are likely to make them outraged, so that user will be more likely to spend a little bit longer looking at that certain outrageous “news” item and then be more likely to share it, which generates more content for Facebook’s platform. In counterpoint to showing you those outrageous posts, Facebook’s algorithms are also designed to show a user things its sophisticated AI decides a user will like and agree with in order to get that user returning to Facebook, wanting to use it, and generating money for Facebook.
These deliberate choices by Facebook, understandably, can contribute to a country of citizens who are outraged at the “other side” and simultaneously convinced everyone either shares their own personal worldview or is most likely stupid for not sharing their worldview–given all of the evidence they see coming up on their news and social media platforms that clearly supports their worldview.
Real, ideally in-person conversation and connection in the places we live our lives–getting to know the people you live, eat, and work with–is the way we help remedy that.
The organizing principle for everything we do at CommonSpace is human connection. By human connection, we mean actually getting to know, conversing with, and caring about people you encounter in your daily life. This human connection is what we believe will “bridge our divides,” allow us to be more peaceful and cooperative, and help make life better for the majority of people who live in our country. CommonSpace is an app, and a platform, to help make more of those meaningful social interactions happen–at home, at work, in a house of worship, or in a college, coffee shop, or anywhere else. It uses our phones to get us to look up from our phones and actually talk to the people in front of us. Not social media, actually social.
*Surgeon General Vivek Murthy writes extensively about the current loneliness epidemic in America in his bestselling book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, published in April 2020.