At a team building off-site some time ago, I was joined around the table by 8 colleagues for a nice (re: costly) lunch. A social thanks from our manager. While most of the members of my "close" team were at different tables, we tried to make the most of our lunch by chatting amongst ourselves. [That's the point, right?]
Two members of this table of 9 were working their phones pretty hard, both under the lip of the table and apologetically above the table. One woman in particular, had a *new* iPhone and she engaged in about three dialogues at the table: introductions, pass the desert and nice to meet you. I kid you not, the rest of the excruciating 2 hour team-building lunch, she did not make eye contact, did not enter into any of the chat, nothing. She was glued to her portal of the ME.
In some altered universe it was okay to *ignore* your current company and keep on with your TXTing. And it wasn't like she was running a serious project that needed her attention. I was sitting nearby and she was discussing movies for the weekend, bbq recipies, and other "critical path" stuff.
I'd chalk it up to "generational gap" issues, BUT the guy at the table who was also constantly TXTing, though he was at least trying to add an occasional observation to the table talk, was my age. Not a child of the WWW, but a pre-WWW worker.
So what is social about social media if you are constantly ON and never LIVE? If your TXTing is more interesting than the people you are with you might consider what that says about YOU. And if your TXTing, that is soooooo important is about movie reviews and what you are going to wear to a pool party on Saturday, you might even evaluate what part of life you pay attention to. But that's not for me to say.
When the lunch was over, and I swear it took 2 hours, it was a luxury meal, most of us checked in VIA voice or txt with our significant others or "next" gathering. I txted my wife and let her know I was getting to go home a couple hours early.
The iPhone girl barely said goodbye to our table. She made a point of thanking our manager for a great time and a great idea for this lunch place. And poof she was gone. But she had never really existed in my mind. She was an icon of Social Media Fail. Little Miss iPhone, I'll call her.
And perhaps Twitter is partially responsible for our current hyper-txt and hyper-phone addiction. We don't want to miss anything. But what we are missing is RT (real-time) interactions with people around us. I do this occasionally when I am writing a post and my attention is being consumed by my self expression. But if I am tweeting during family meals, perhaps I'm out of whack. And so when a tweet comes up like this, "On a date with XXX, just ordered ritas and queso…" My first question is, "Wow, this 'date' is so important to you that tweeting the experience is more imporant to you than actually experiencing the event." I pity the date. And I pity our culture if this continues build into the norm.
I sort of have an issue with blue tooth ear pieces for the same reason. USE YOUR PHONE or DON'T USE YOUR PHONE. Keeping that nifty little flashing light piece of metal in your ear says to me, "the next call could be much more important than our discussion." I don't wear my iPod headphones when I'm going to lunch with you. So take the damn BORG-ish thing out of your ear. The blue flashing light is about to give me an epileptic seizure. And look at me when you're talking to me. Please.
So to you I say, Happy Friday.