3 Ideas on Technology in Public

Phone

Technology has exploded in recent years. Did you know that 10 years ago (when my wife and I got married) there was no iPad?
That is incredible to think about! In less than 10 years we have seen the iPad, iPad2, iPad  (3rd Gen), iPad (4th Gen), iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and another expected to come out this year!
With this rapid advancement of Technology I can help but notice that sometimes people aren’t using technology – it is using them. The way technology uses us can be varied. Sometimes technology is collecting data from our locations. But other times it is damaging our friendships and social interactions. I have seen some people, while in a group of peers, rudely jabbering on their phones while their peers are agitatedly waiting.
In light of this, I wanted to bring up three observations and some accompanying thought that might help all of us get a better reign on technology.
  1. When did talking on the phone become more important than talking to the person in front of you?Recently, Mark Zuckerberg suggested that using your phone while you’re at dinner with someone else was not, in fact, a negative thing.The fact is that there are still plenty of people who consider it rude behavior, and there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops that will not take orders from people talking on cell phones.It might be time to take a look at who is around you when you are on your phone. Instead of reaching in to the phone to see what is going on in the world, take a minute to ask the person that is right beside you what is going on. You might surprise yourself and meet a new friend or make someone’s day!
  2. You are now everyone’s interruption.Everyone now has an interruption maker in their pocket. That email, phone call or text coming in not only alerts you, but everyone in ear shot.The solution is pretty simple. Set your phone up with a Do Not Disturb program. These programs allow you to set your phone to not make a peep except when your family or other important people call you in emergencies. For those people who you set as exceptions your phone will still ring, but for every other text, email or calendar alert there will be no sound.
  3. When did Facebook Birthday greetings replace phone calls or cards?Maybe I am just tired of seeing only credit card flyers and bills in my mailbox, but I think there is something special about taking the time to make a call or send a Birthday greeting. It is not an offensive move to just write Happy Birthday on someone’s Facebook wall (I’m still not a fan of abbreviating it to HB), but those Facebook greetings don’t seem to convey the same sense of importances or love.I would suggest that you take the time to call or write the important people in your life with a custom Birthday greeting!

Technology helps us multitask, which can be efficient, but if we’re not careful, it can override in-person communication. Rachel Marsden recently offered some ideas for Technology in a Wall Street Journal OpEd. Here are some to consider:

  1. When you are with others, if the person on the other end of your ringing phone…isn’t dying and you aren’t a heart surgeon, let it go to voicemail.
  2. When I set up a meeting with someone, they are the only person in the room.
  3. If you must talk on the phone in a public place try to move out of earshot from the people around you.
I think that our culture is at a critical point where courtesy is being chased from our lives by convenience.

Technology is one of the many vehicles of convenience in our lives, but that convenience can erode our boundaries and end up using us if we are not mindful of our actions.

In closing:
  • Be vigilant of yourself.
  • Unplug from your phone, computer, tablet and screens for at least 90 minutes everyday.
  • Remove hurry from your life and mind! You should be prioritizing your life, not letting technology lead you where ever it goes.
Technology can be a blessing or curse, our decisions today help shape the culture of tomorrow. 

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