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High Touch, Low Tech: Remembering the start of a retro-chic women’s network

POSTED ON Jul 31st 2015 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Adult Beverages, Economy, Friendship, Gadgets and Techology, Motherhood, Social Media, This modern life, US Media

Red dotHub Dot is a little over 2 years old. We have opened in a dozen plus cities worldwide and have a membership of 15,000 women and counting. We recently posted how we started and I remembered that I had written about it at the time. I had only a small inkling of what we would become.  From February of 2013.

 

 

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A few weeks ago a friend from London wrote to me about a women’s networking coffee. She wanted me to pass the info to my London contacts. She meant email. I posted it on Facebook. She had me take it down, telling me she wanted ‘high touch, low tech’ networking. No problem, I took it down and sent an email instead. I giggled a bit about email was now “low tech,” but I understood her point.

Old enough to have learned to get news and correspondence on paper—perhaps even the last trained to type on actual typewriters with carbon leaf—many of us have only transitioned to email. (How many readers under 35 know what “cc” stands for?) And many of us have little interest in, or even aversion to, social networking and its ilk.

I’ve seen many discussions and changes aimed at attracting more viewers for websites, but always from the stash of people already on the web. Considering their political impact, I’m surprised by what little effort outfits make to reach the low-tech Gen X women.

We don’t have an outright aversion to the web. In fact many figure—correctly— that if we could just figure out where to go, that the web is a more efficient source of news. But we like neat and clean, and we want substance. Since information and news services have the same problem as the porn industry, free availability, websites fill our pages with little bites of info and advertisements and often get revenue based on metrics that no one really understands. (More here.) The result is just a barrage of visual noise that repels some readers.

Yes, HuffPo and The Daily Mail have wildly successful websites, but there is an unserved audience that those information gristle mills will never reach.

Retro economics

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Speaking of coffee, I am addicted. Right before I met my friend for lunch, I was writing at a new coffee shop—one that lacked wifi, but that’s a comment for another day—but even I couldn’t finish this Texas size latte.

Around the same time, a friend and I were sitting in a niche coffee/wine bar, just the kind that could survive next to a Starbucks, and discussing the closure of another Barnes and Noble. We remembered the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan reunion flick, You’ve Got Mail, in which the giant bookstores put the little niche bookshops out of business. But then the colossus, Amazon, and e-readers came along. The big bookstores added coffee shops, but lost revenue. They merged with companies like Paper Chase trying to prop up store revenue with stationary and stocking stuffers. It didn’t work. Now the companies that will thrive are Amazon and the little mystery bookshop with the good coffee, inviting seating area, and Tuesday and Thursday night mystery dinner theater.

So will it be with news. It might seem like the web has taken over the information world, but it hasn’t. I don’t think it ever will, not fully.

 There is, and always will be, a hunger for no-gimmick in depth reporting. In the new tech world, someone will eventually figure out how to deliver it. I’d ask for comments or suggestions, but the women I’m writing about won’t ever read this post, unless I email it to them. And then they might reply in an email, but more likely will bring it up for discussion the next time we have coffee. They prefer low tech, high touch.

By the way, my friend’s low tech, high touch coffee saw 450+ women from all over London networking in a dress shop on a rainy Tuesday night.

 

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The next month I flew to London and joined the Kitchen Table (Simona’s kitchen is the board room.) Hub Dot expanded to Milan, Luxembourg, Barcelona. To the big events we added supper club and smaller themed events about art, parenting, health, and others. About a year and a half later, we opened in Houston. You can find out about Hub Dot and if we are opening near you at: hubdot.com. I recommend starting with the What is Hub Dot? video. Here’s our latest article in The Times of London, “Joining the Dots for a Bigger Picture“.

 

Hub Dot speakers watching

A few of our speakers and planners watching Simona open the evening. From left to right, Magen Pastor of MagenPastor.com, Sophia Jorski’s mother (Sophia runs thesummertimecakery.com), Lisa Graiff of Hub Dot Texas, Dorothy Gibbons of TheRose.org, Caroline Leech of inspiringhoustonwomen.com, Rev. Jan Dantone of sjd.org, and Anita Kruse of PurpleSongsCanFly.org.

HubDot Houston 1

 

 

5 Comments



  1. Maverick said:

    We Luddites always read, just not so much with the comments. Do prefer chatting over tea. Just waiting for the future techno leap, like the countries that skipped land lines and went straight to cell towers. Voice command and interaction, windows that convert to large touchscreens as needed, personalized sensor activated systems…you know, like at Tony Stark’s house (insert funny emoticon but don’t know how). Cheers!

  2. Leslie Loftis said:

    This might be my favourite comment ever. Waiting for Stark’s house.
    Also, you, are a lurker not a luddite. People who read but don’t common are very common. I mean a whole other segment of our peers, those who avoid the web as much as possible.
    BTW, I’m at Target, which is where I usually am when we talk. Chat in a sec.

  3. Mitch Mitchell said:

    You know why you’re nicer than me? Because if I’d been asked to take it down I would have but I wouldn’t have sent anything to my email list. The thing is you tried to help & do the wrong thing and, though I’m not sure how she communicated to you that you did it wrong, the idea that in this day and age one would want to sculpt who showed up and want your complicity in the act… it just sits wrong with me. And there were still more than 400 women who showed up; would it have really made a difference?

  4. Leslie Loftis said:

    She’s a good friend and there was no tension in the request. She, and many of my friends, are just anti-social media, not in a hate it way, but more in an old habits die hard and face to face works best way. Many moms also have major security and privacy concerns. Social media is new, a bit gauche, and potentially dangerous to them. These days it seems like everyone is on something but there is a large swath of women who don’t trust the Internet and don’t use it outside Amazon.
    Thanks for the Growmso plugin rec by the way. I finally installed it. Works like a charm.

  5. edge of the sandbox said:

    I found the Internet quite handy once I had kids: it gave me something to do with odd time intervals and enable to meet women (and men) who shared my politics. That was before the Twitter, though.
    Now that my daughter is getting old, I’m worried I’m setting a wrong example for her. It’s generally not a good idea for a young woman to spend time online. And, especially, if she’s going to meet young men, she should leave it up to them to seek her out in real world.

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