Kicking off a new theme week The Art of Communication is a post inspired by Ted speaker Renny Gleason’s whose Ted talk is about the obvious and cringeworthy truth, mobile phones or cell phones for my US friends, that are making us a very anti-social bunch.Are you nodding your head in agreement? Are you perhaps a little bit guilty of this too?
Do you remember a time before mobile phones? It wasn’t that long ago really. It was a time when queuing up for pay phones was an actual thing and answering machines for your landline home phone came in two forms; electronic and human (family and housemates) It was a time when the closest thing to mobile phones were car phones and ET’s index finger. You had a 50-50 chance of actually getting your messages left for you by human answering machines. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing though, you could always blame misplaced phone messages and not being home for not returning calls that you didn’t want to get back to it. You weren’t available 24/7 and that was okay.
Fast forward to today and mobile phones have meant that we are always contactable. Renny says that this expectation of availability is followed by an obligation of that availability. The problem is making ourselves constantly availability can kind of make us look rude to the people all around us.
Beep, Beep Beep, I must not look!
We’ve all been there. We are having lunch with friends and hear that familiar notification beep on our phone. We want to answer it, check if it’s important, but wouldn’t it look rude? Some people, would just dive right into their phone and check, others have developedstrategic ways to hide their phone usage, such as The Lean or The Stretch. To see these tactics in action press play on Renny’s Ted talk.
I am old enough to remember a time before mobile phones became mainstream, and I have to say it’s a pretty good vantage point as I don’t take for granted the awesomeness (yes I just wrote that) of mobile phones. It truly is amazing, but here’s the thing. What started out as a way to make us more accessible and open up communication with each other has actually made us less accessible to the people immediately around us. I’m just going to say it, so many people became anti-social zombies on the phones.
If you take just one thing away from this Ted talk it’s this, the next time you are having lunch with a friend put your phone away and don’t touch it. Don’t let the people around you think that anyone or anything (facebook post, twitter feed, candy crush) that comes though to you on your mobile is worth more attention than their actual presence. People matter.
Make a game out if. The next time you are out at lunch, have everyone pile all their phones on the middle of the table. The first person to touch their phone is paying for everyone’s lunch. I bet nobody will dare touch their phone!
What do you think about mobile phones? Do they create antisocial behaviour or are people just too darn sensitive.