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Stories From Main Street: Overcoming A Loss Of Civility In The Digital Age

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A call for a return to basics at the end of campaign 2016, put away your political swords, put down your phone, and let's talk.

"We felt that there was nobody better to lead a movement back to conversation better than New Yorkers who are the world's greatest schmoozers," Ron Gross said.

Gross -- an author and educator -- hosts Conversation Day at Adelphi University's Manhattan Center. It involves groups of 6 to 8 people sitting face to face.

"Sharing your insights, your understanding, your experiences, your thoughts, your reflections. It's a wonderful way to meet new people -- go from small talk to big talk as we like to put it. Stretch your mind a little bit and make New York a more convivial place," he said.

Gross believes the digital age is altering the way people interact.

"We were losing something because of our fixation on our devices that we were connecting digitally, but losing the joys and the rewards of face to face communication," he said.

And with that shift, a loss of civility.

"You just can't rant and rave if you're sitting opposite somebody over coffee and a doughnut, in the same way that you feel you can in an online forum," he said.

Of course talking is just part of the experience.

"We have two ears and one mouth, and that should remind us that it's good to spend half the time talking and twice the time listening," he said.

So unplug, gather around, and engage.

"The people who come seem to find that meaningful conversation is the most enjoyable and readily available and sometimes the most powerful way to stimulate thinking, nurture friendships, and enhance the quality of your life and the quality of life of the city," he said.

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