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When”s the last time you had a good chat, a meaningful conversation?

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With your spouse? With your kids? (Parents of teenagers, feel free to snort here.)

How many times do we get together as a family, only to realize that we all have our noses in our phones, tablets or laptops? (No judgment here – I”ve been known to text the person sitting next to me.)

Much has been written about the lost art of conversation, about how the digital devices that make communication faster and easier are robbing us of the ability to actually converse with one another. It”s not that we”re not talking. With cell phones, texts, e-mails and social media, the world is more talkative than ever. But talking can be a one-way street.

Conversation is an exchange, a sharing of ideas, a chance to learn, connect and understand. In journalism school, they called it interviewing, but I knew better and fell in love with a career that paid me to talk with people… and then write about it.

Conversation is the satisfaction that comes from dinner with your girlfriends – evenings that start at 6pm and end when someone”s husband wakes up in the middle of the night and kicks us out. (They just don”t get it. These are men that after four hours of golf together, answer “nothing” when asked what they talked about. Love them, but seriously…?)

Conversation is why wine and fire pits were invented.

Conversation is the late-night call from your stressed out college student and the heart-to-heart you”d have with your mom – if you still could.

At its core, a magazine is really a conversation, our chance to connect with our readers – in print, online and through social media. We love what some consider small talk. Where are you from and where do you work? Where do your kids go to school, play ball or dance? Have you been here forever or did you just find your way home to us? Have you tried the new restaurant at the Mall of Georgia and can you believe how crowded Sprouts Farmers Market was for its grand opening?

We learn a lot in these conversations. What”s important to you and what”s interesting to you. It”s how we find our best stories – and the people at the heart of them. Issue after issue, for 17 years and then some, we continue to be intrigued by our community and our neighbors – and usually inspired, informed and entertained, too.

Experts tell us that our health and happiness are tied to feelings of community and belonging. Fostering that sense of community is exactly what we”re all about, and we want to hear from you. Comments, feedback, story ideas – call me or send me an email. Let”s chat!

Dana K. Urrutia
dana@gwinnettmagazine.com