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For young adults unused to unplugging, Hinge publishes a phone book filled with free ideas

A few months ago, we covered One More Hour, an initiative by dating app Hinge aimed at boosting real-world interactions between young adults. This week, ahead of Global Day of Unplugging, which lasts 24 hours from sundown March 1 to sundown March 2, 2024, Hinge is launching a companion piece: the Hinge Phonebook. Nothing like the hefty tomes once distributed door-to-door, this is a slim little book the size of a smartphone.

The Hinge Phonebook features over 100 entertaining pages of activities designed to get people to ditch digital distraction in favor of in-person interaction. Included is everything from volunteering for an animal shelter and how to cook a Peruvian-Chinese dish called Lomo Saltado, to ideas for random acts of kindness and "Grab a friend and start collecting something random for reasons you agree never to explain."

The book also playfully points out how tethered most people are to their screens, both through facts (the average US adult will spend 44 years of their life staring at screens) and reminders of our collective online obsessions (four feline-only pages function as an offline dose of cat content). Hinge will send a paper version of their Phonebook to anyone in the US who requests one, free of charge. Since stocks are limited, the document is also available as a download.

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Cleverly crafted to fit in the palm of a hand like the irresistible piece of tech it's meant to replace, Hinge's Phonebook is a manifesto for the unplugged life. While the publication's tone is playful, its reason for being is serious: in-person connection time is plummeting for young adults. That would be fine if the decline didn't run parallel to an increase in loneliness. Surveying 2,500 18-to-25-year-olds for Hinge, Gen Z insights firm DCDX found that "75% of Gen Z-ers agree that spending time with others in person makes them feel less lonely."

But shifting from on-screen to in-person can be awkward. As Josh Penny, Hinge's Social Impact Director, points out: "We live so much of our lives online that unplugging can feel drastic or scary." Which is where the company's pocket-sized manual comes in: "It's about showing people that tapping into the magic of IRL is way easier than it seems," Penny continues. "Our physical Phonebook supports young adults who may be wondering 'Okay, I unplugged. Now what?'"

Want more inspiration on how to help your customers rediscover the delight of offline connections? Check out this Tokyo cafe that serves chocolate soufflés and conversation starters to bring couples closer, and how Amsterdam supermarkets use green grocery baskets to encourage shoppers to chat with strangers.

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Vicki Loomes