THE BLOG
09/03/2014 01:37 pm ET Updated Nov 03, 2014

Good-Neighbor Policies

You should get out more.

Your texting should be put on hold for just a little bit as you engage in something resembling actual human interaction.

You'll be better off for it.

I know that most people prefer to deal with rendezvous and appointments and even the occasional hello by texting or instant messaging. Nothing wrong with that. Social media keeps us all going, and as someone who's building a business and helping others build theirs through audience-engagement campaigns, I know the importance of digital communication.

But on a personal level, if you don't get out and get personal with a real, live human, you're doing yourself harm.

The writer Brian Bethune brings this to light in an article in Maclean's. His article refers to two books, "The Vanishing Neighbor," by Marc Dunkelman, and the soon-to-be-published "The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter," by Susan Pinker which explore the need for neighborliness in our overworked and increasingly isolated world.

Bethune cites Pinker in saying that "humans need face-to-face contact, as they need air and water. We have evolved for it, to the extent that those surrounded by a tight-knit group of friends who regularly gather to eat--and, crucially, gossip--live an average of 15 years longer than loners."

Of course, people with a few hundred Facebook friends, a long list of Twitter followers and a substantial mailing list may not consider themselves to be loners. Look at all the folks these entrepreneurs send stuff to! But if all they do is post and tweet and email, then they might not actually be all - that that social - outside of the virtual society of social media.

And that's a shame.

When you see - actually see, as in run into - other people, you are likely to get outside yourself. You're likely to think of someone else's point of view. You're likely to think in terms of real community rather than virtual community, which means you're more likely to vote (always a good thing in a democratic republic - the U.S. has a terrible voting record).

And you're likely to become richer for knowing someone who doesn't like the same things as you (or "like" them, either), who doesn't resemble you except by dint of living in the same area, and who isn't you.

So, take it from me, someone who encourages people to build lists of followers but who knows that unless he forces himself to step away from the computer or the smart phone, he won't benefit from one of the greatest gifts we have: each other.