I want to talk about something completely unrelated to skydiving today, but it’s a trend that I’ve noticed more and more lately and I think something just needs to be said. Feel free to share the following sentiment with anyone you feel might need it.
Technology is making people rude. Smart phones are making people socially ignorant and downright disrespectful in their real life interactions.
As someone who works in the social space, I get paid to consume the latest technology (iPhones, iPads, apps, social media, you name it, I’ve dabbled and I typically love it), but that doesn’t change my stance on true interpersonal communication. I’ve been known to stop an email chain in it’s tracks and pick up the phone when communication is no longer crystal clear (and I’ve had clients and friends alike thank me for doing so when tone seems to get lost), I don’t respond to texts or emails when involved in a face-to-face conversation and I rarely pick up the phone when I’m preoccupied with someone else – unless I’ve been expecting the call.
So, needless to say it baffles me that so many people have their faces buried in their smart phones while in the presence of other human beings. I have a couple friends who, every time they go to dinner, when the finish eating they both push their plates aside and get out their iPhones and start checking email, playing Draw Something, or whatever they are doing. Neither of them is talking to anyone else at the table – and they both seem completely content with that. Others I know have every alert on their phone set to push – text, email, twitter, Draw Something, Words with Friends, you name it – so it comes as no surprise when they can’t make it thought a conversation without looking at their phone because it’s dinging and vibrating every 5 minutes.
Not only do I wonder how these people manage to keep their batteries charged, but sometimes I wonder how they manage to keep real life friends. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a hard time believing I’m the only Gen Y’er (or whatever they’re calling us these days) who finds it incredibly rude when I’m mid-sentence and the person I’m talking to picks up their phone to respond to a text that just came through on their phone. I’m not alone in this, right?
If I had one wish it would be that people would back away from their phones, lift their eyes up and look at the actual people around them. Now, I can’t deny that I haven’t used my phone as a way to get out of having to have a conversation with someone I didn’t feel like talking to, or to avoid looking like a total loser while waiting for a friend at the bar, but all in all, I’m pretty proud of my technology habits. Sure, I check in on foursquare when I enter a new location, and yes, when I’m awaiting an email from an important client I will have my email push to let me know what’s going on, but when it comes to spending quality time with someone, it’s just that – quality time.
As technology continues to expand to create more efficiencies in our life, I truly hope it doesn’t encourage us to further distance ourselves from the people around us. After all, at the end of our lives, it’s going to be the smiles, laughs and moments we comiserated with the people in our physical world that will sand out the most…not the number of twitter replies or text messages received.
My challenge to you, put down your technology and enjoy those around you this weekend. I promise, Twitter, Facebook, and email will be there on Monday.
Love and Blue Skies!