Kill your smart phone — Now!

Happy New Year, everybody!  2011 is here and with that comes a new wave of resolutions and ideas for a better life.  Some people aim to lose weight; others hope to kick a nasty habit.  For me, 2011 is the year to do away with the smart phone.

In the summer of 2007 I went more than 50 days without sending a text.  It was glorious.  I had grown tired of sitting in a room full of friends with every single one of them texting somebody somewhere else.  I used to repeatedly say “be with the people you are with.”  My friends quickly tired of this.

Another fun thing to do was to immediately call a person after they texted me.  Those exchanges usually went something like this:

Them: Hello?

Me: Hey, it’s Jon.  I just got your text and wanted to expedite the process.  What’s up?

Them: Why are you calling me?

Me: Texting is too passive aggressive.  This is a much faster way of getting across whatever it is that we need to get across.

Stunned by straight-forward human interaction without any passive aggressive undertones and no sarcasm to interpret, people had no clue how to react.  At that point they usually just got gun-shy and started fumbling over their words.

In summary: Your friends, Brothers and romantic interests deserve better.  Text messaging, while convenient, is no way to carry on a dialogue.

Moving along, I’d like to reminisce about when I was younger, perhaps in 8th grade.  I’d be over at a friend’s house and we’d be talking about our favorite movies, or sports teams or whatever.  Then, we would get stumped.  “What was the name of that actress who played in ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’? No… not Jennifer Love Hewitt… the other one.”  We would sit there and try to figure it out for a few minutes and then ask “Who of our friends would know the answer to this?”

That was a perfectly legitimate reason to call someone.  It provided an opportunity to call a friend, let them know you were talking about a mutual interest and then ask them for help (and who doesn’t love to help?).  Nowadays, you would just pick up your smart phone, use some app and figure out in about 47 seconds that the answer to this riddle is Sarah Michelle Gellar and be on with your day.

In summary:  next time your stumped by a piece of trivia please call a friend who might know the answer.  It lets them know you’re thinking about them, gives you a reason to talk and is way more social than googling the answer on your smart phone.

In 2011 we have more ways than ever to communicate.  We can text; use BBM; email; Gchat; Facebook chat, message or post; Tweet… The list of ways to communicate grows every day.  But lost in that is the fact that as  the variety of communication methods grow it becomes increasingly difficult to connect with people.  We are growing increasingly de-sensitized to in-person interaction. We use social media to stay in touch while keeping people away from us.

In an organization that is defined by interpersonal relationships it is key that we do everything possible to strengthen our bonds.  Today I ask that you metaphorically kill your smart phone.  Make the conscious choice to personally connect with people at every chance you get.  The next time you are thinking about sending a text or using your smart phone to Google the answer to something, I ask that you reconsider and take a moment to connect with a friend.

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