Disconnecting Ourselves to Stay Connected

Even in a social atmosphere - we are addicted to text communication

In today’s fast-paced, high-tech, digital world, it is important to stay connected. Hand-held devices such as RIM’s many Blackberry models, for example, are great tools to do just that.

Known as “smart” phones, you can use them to do much more than make phone calls. Among a million other things, you can send and receive emails instantaneously, forward a goofy photo to your cousin in Switzerland, and even update your facebook status while you’re on the go. Talk about staying connected.

Growing rapidly in popularity, smart phones are becoming the standard in wireless communication devices – everybody has to have one. And I mean every one. From 14 year-old high school kids, to your 65 year-old neighbour who rarely leaves the house.

This is good news for the connection-conscious people out there, right? I mean, the more people that have smart phones, the more we can all stay connected, right?

Wrong! Now before you get all up in arms, and tell me I’m stuck in the past, let me explain.

The texting phenom that has taken the world by storm is nothing new. People have been text messaging long before phones had “QWERTY” (full, like a computer’s keyboard) keypads.

However, when you had to press a button three or four times to get to the character you wanted, it was less likely you would respond to every message, and certainly not always right away. Responding to every text message, email,  facebook comment, etc, that comes to you, instantaneously, is disconnecting you far more than it is keeping you connected.

Just think; how many times have you been in a packed bar with friends, yes a very social atmosphere indeed, and seen someone with their head down to their phone, clicking away on their Blackberry. Meanwhile, they’re surrounded by friends who would love to shoot the breeze, or joke around, or debate the likely outcome of tomorrow’s NFL game with them. You know, like, be social.

What’s worse is the phone checker. Mid conversation with you they get a vibration. They pull out the phone while you’re still talking, and though nodding to appear as though they are listening, they aren’t paying attention to a thing you’re saying. I know they aren’t because I used to do this to people all the time, and I couldn’t listen while I was reading.

Humans cannot listen to someone talk while reading something entirely unrelated, and take both in. I’m not exactly a doctor, in fact, I’m possibly the furthest thing from one, but my logic tells me that that’s both physically and mentally impossible.

Adding to the level of distraction are some of the smart phone applications that are available as of more recently. Facebook mobile and MSN Messenger are perfect examples. Combined with standard text messages, emails, MSN Messenger, and facebook, to name just a few, people’s phones are buzzing non-stop. Which is fine if the messages and such could wait until later, but no, people need to respond to everything, right away.

“Forget about you and what you’re telling me – this comment to my facebook status is much more important to me, and I’m going to respond right now while I pretend to listen to you”.

If you’re out on a lunch break with a co-worker and get an email from a client, there is nothing wrong with taking a moment to respond. For that matter, responding for work related purposes is rarely a bad thing to do, unless of course you are on vacation, at a family event, or worst of all; behind the wheel of a car.

Other ramblings, however, are completely inexcusable at any time while you are with others. Unless of course you happen to be with a friend who also can’t keep the phone down. The two of you can have a texting session all day and night for all I care. Not my idea of an exciting get-together, but whatever floats your boat.

Long story short – texting while your around others is not cool.

Also inexcusable at any time is texting while driving. This is a whole other topic of discussion that I would like to touch deeper on in a later article. For now, just watch this video clip (warning, this video is graphic, and should cause you to feel nauseous). Then I ask: how important is that facebook status comment?

Thanks for reading what I have to say (yes, this one was a rant), and please, leave a comment – I want your opinion on the matter.