Is it time to crank up your connections?

Almon Brown Strowger was an undertaker, born in New York state in 1839, but he’s best known for something else altogether. You see, he discovered that a rival of his was stealing all the local funeral business because his wife worked as a telephone operator, and would manually connect calls meant for other undertakers to her husband’s office. Crafty. Dead crafty.

Our Mr Strowger was something of an inventor, however, and believing that it should be the subscriber who determined where a call should go rather than the operator, he set about creating and patenting an automatic electro-mechanical telephone exchange. When I began working in advertising in the mid-1980s, with British Telecom as a client, many of BT’s exchanges still contained what was referred to as Strowger equipment.


Nowadays, of course, phone calls are switched electronically by computer, but there was something quite magical (and clatteringly noisy) about those old exchanges in which you could quite literally see the connections being made.

I think we all go through periods when, perhaps, we don’t connect as much as we might. I’m not talking necessarily about electronic connections, although there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with those, more about any and all human contact we have with others, especially when the communication is on more than a mere surface level.

I wonder if there’s a correlation between your mood and the amount of social contact you have each day? If so, it may not be easy to determine what is cause and effect (do you feel better because you’ve spent time with others, or do you spend time with them because you’re feeling good?) but there does appear to be sense in trying to increase your connections whenever you can.

Those old-fashioned telephone exchanges seemed to be at their best when they were working hard, and didn’t always do so well if they sat idle. They’d seize up and break down. Maybe your mood is a bit like this?

And perhaps today is a good one to get those dials whirring?

8 thoughts on “Is it time to crank up your connections?

  1. I do so love your connections to a thought through an introductory analogy of a practical or anecdotal nature, John. It works so well to link practice and theory, and I often remember the quirky tales you tell. Keep em coming! And thanks again! You are just great.

  2. Difficult one this. I get a huge buzz from networking, socialising but it can also leave me zapped of all energy……and then I will shut down for a while….then go full blast again…..maybe I need a regulator of some sort…..
    I like your anecdotes…..I think you put a lot of time and effort in to your blogs. Well done.

    1. Great point Kathryn. I think I’m the same as you in that being very sociable can feel great, but at the same time exhausting.

      Although I’m (definitely) not a runner, I’m certain that successful athletes need to rest between big races, so perhaps our need to have a good sit down between big social engagements is along the same lines?

      Thanks for the encouragement, too.

      1. I too find this. I need to see people to keep my perspective healthy, but I do get worn out and over sensitised these days. I try to spread social nights out a bit (although it’s not always possible) and have some nights at home to chill or go to bed early. I need the down time it’s as important as the social time, ying and yang. Thanks Jon, your blogs always give me pause for thought which is a good thing.

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