Driving home earlier this month, I caught an NPR piece on the Swedish Number and it’s quickly become one of my favorite things EVER. The idea was simple – let the people of Sweden represent the amazingness that is Sweden by connecting them directly with potential tourists. What a brilliant idea to promote tourism within the county. When I got home, I found that in addition to NPR, The New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post and countless others had already been talking about this for a couple months. How had I missed this fantastic story???
What I love so much about this idea is the basis that human connection is the best way to do almost anything. In a world where we live in front of screen after screen, chat for help and order things to be delivered by drones, going back to the basics of the telephone seems quaint. Why not a flashy social media campaign? A catching slogan? A contest? Because in the middle of all this noise, we’ve forgotten how powerful it can be to simply talk with each other. There were apparently no scripts or talking points given – just instructions on how to log into the system and be available for calls and see where the conversation takes you.
It got me thinking – how else could we connect and who else could we dial? Dial a new parent to check in and see how they’re coping and provide some adult conversation? Dial a senior who may not have many visitors? Dial someone who loves cooking when your mid-recipe and need a quick substitution for an ingredient? Dial a local for a great restaurant recommendation while traveling? Where else could we go back to human interaction for a fun twist?