Recently, I saw one of the weirdest (and slightly disturbing) promotional videos for a new product called Romo by Brookstone. Before you read my post, check out the video below:
Come on, Brookstone. Did we not learn anything about the dangers of technology and being too connected from Pixar’s Wall-E? Personally, my heart hurt watching that video because the kids rarely ever made eye contact with each other. It’s incredibley disturbing and it became the inspiration for this post on disconnecting and being present.
I love my iPhone and social media as much as the next person, but there is a time and place for it (and it is not everywhere all the time). Diane R. Dean, an associate professor researching social psychology at Illinois State University talks a great deal about the behaviors of today’s college students in her latest book, “Generation on a Tightrope.” Our generation is more connected, yet more socially isolated. Our interpersonal and face-to-face skills are lacking. As offended as I was when I first heard it, I began to further dissect it and realized that this is, in fact, a large problem.
We all know that someone who posts a really vague Facebook status or a subtweet (subliminal tweet, for those not in the Twitterverse). Dean discusses that many students prefer to deal with conflict digitally rather than face-to-face because it feels “safer”. We put it out there because there is an automatic audience that is listening without having to deal with the human element, which makes us feel vulnerable.
We all know the person that will check their phone when they have nothing else to talk about or if a situation gets awkward. Whether it is at lunch with a colleague or catching up with an old friend, it’s pretty awful to decide to check your phone and be social over your device when you are physically having social time with someone else. Realize that your phone is not an escape rope, you need to build your social and interpersonal skills.
We all know the people that will bring their gadgets of mass distraction to work meetings, aimlessly scrolling through their news feeds for something interesting. Imagine what your next meeting would be like if there were no “gadgets of mass distraction”: shorter meetings, more conversation, fewer interruptions, better decisions. Your active participation and attention at work meetings is important. Challenge your supervisor to address it. You never know…as a result, you may have less meetings because your team is more productive.
We all know these people. And sometimes, it might be ourselves. Here are some questions to reflect on:
How many total hours a day am I on my device?
How are the quality of my friendships and relationships?
Am I happy with myself and my quality of life?
What times during the day do you embrace or want to embrace more? And with who? Create routines for yourself to enjoy the people around you and be present. Whether it is time with your significant other, at the gym or right before bed, find the time that works best for you. Your device may seem like it is providing you with drops of happiness, but let’s learn to turn the ringer off, put our phones away and live more in the moment with the people we love. These small shifts will help us live the happier life that we wish to achieve. And it all starts by being the true, human social creatures we are. Learn to love and be loved. Unplug, strive & grind.
In one of my next articles, I will discuss some of my favorite tips and tools to help you manage your time online and increase productivity. Feel free to leave your comments below!