I am a technophile, I'll admit it. I love technology. I had an personal digital assistant back in 1990 and people thought I was weird for having everything in a little electronic device instead of a day planner. In 1991 I had a car phone, and in 1994 I was the only person in my office to have a cell phone. I had the first smartphone, a Palm Treo, before most people even knew what a smartphone was. And I would admit that I am on my phone a lot as email is my major communcation medium for work. I use it to check weather and just about everything else.
My wife would probably tell you that I am on my phone more than I should be, but I implemented a couple of self imposed rules. 1: The phone goes in the charger when I am home and stays there. I only check emails when I hear a work email tone. 2: No phone use in restaurants except to check on our kids. 3: No phone use when at anyone else's home. 4: No texting while driving, and only bluetooth use at that time. 5: No walking and texting
More and more I see that we as a people have all this amazing technology that allows us to communicate instantly. I remember the days when you left home, no one had any way of communcating with you until you got to your destination, and only if they knew where you were going and had the number. In the past ten years, I can not remember going on any vacation and not getting a call or work email. Ever.
Now, if someone calls, or emails, or texts you and you don't reply within five minutes, they wonder why you are avoiding them. If I get ino an accident and I can't call for help, no worries, my car will do it for me, amd even tell the emergency responders where I am exactly.
Yet, with all that, more and more I see people getting more and more distant. My wife and I went to a restaurant last week, and there was a table with a family of seven people, and not one person spoke to the other, other than to show something on their phone. Everyone had their phones out and just stared at the screen the entire time. Get into an elevator and no one says hello. Everyone just stares at their phone.
Ever glance to see what people are so enthralled by? Facebook and twitter. Everyone is living in their own reality show, where they are the star, and they have to keep updating “their public” of what they are doing. Everybody has hundreds of “friends”, but do they actually know any of them?
I went to a friend's house the other day, and his fourteen year old daughter had two of her friends over that day. As I watched their interaction, they sat together in a room, but yet never spoke to each other. They stared into their phones, checking their Facebook, Instagram and twitter accounts, and every now and then they would text each other something funny about what they saw, and they would all burst out in laughter. It was really sad. When I was their age I was out with my best friend riding our bikes for hours all though nature trails.
So today, if you are one of those people that are glued to our phone, put it away when you enter an elevator and just say “Good Morning” to the people in there. Just try for a second to remember that we are all human and have a connection, a human connection, and not via email.