I’m sitting here on a Monday at a Barnes & Noble writing another “meaningful” blog about life, recruiting, social media, and any other musing that catches my eye. However, I should be with the love of my life enjoying a brisk but sunny day doing anything but being on the computer. I’m here because I lost a sense of what is truly important – not just personally but in business too.
In the current era with the nod towards being influential, I’m afraid many of us – including me – have lost the true sense of what it means to be influential. First graders receive iPads and other computers from their parents in the hope that the little buggers will become computer savvy before puberty hits; teenagers tap away in the backseats of their parents’ cars or at the kitchen table during meal times when they’re but two feet away from having meaningful talks with the people who should be influencing them the most. Adults out for dinner sit across from each other paying more attention to their smartphones.
We’ve become dangerously tethered to communication devices large and small because we believe that a small dopamine spritz from a new text message, email, Tweet, Facebook post, blog comment, or LinkedIn message makes our lives complete. Instead, it compounds – in an often unseen way – the loneliness in our lives.
We’ve been conned into thinking that computer-literacy needs to be entwined into our DNA at the expense of being able to hold a conversation with a loved one, to ask how their day was. In reality, we need to be insanely interested in how the loves of our lives are feeling and the be able to pick up on the cues that make us human rather than the computer based messages that make us androids.
From now on, my phone will be off limits to anything but the phone from the time I leave work until the next morning when I leave for work. If you leave a voicemail, be certain that if it isn’t life or death it won’t be returned until the next day. I’m going to set up Sunday afternoon “office hours” to answer whatever other messages come in between leaving work Friday and then.
Of course, a “meaningful” blog post isn’t a substitute for talking to one’s heart throb but it’s all I have now. I really want you to see how YOU are tethered to computers and see if changes need to be made to make YOUR life more influential.
And I’m going to find a way to convince the love of my life that I’m not a computer addict and that I will pursue her as doggedly as she pursued me. I’m sure groveling and flowers will be involved but that’s between us (in case you’re wondering, I’ve written this more for her than for you).
In the end, her love is far more important to me than your message. And love trumps influence 24/7/365.
I love this post Steve. I am seeing and hearing many people realizing that their twitter followers and facebook buddies are not nearly as important as everybody has been hyped to think. In fact in many cases it’s almost like having “play like , imaginary friends”.
I have always left my cell phone in my car. It’s a damn mobile phone to me which means i use it when i am mobile. The people who have my office number call me at my office, the people who call me at home are the people i want to speak with when i am home..read , not at work.
I think we have all gotten a bit too fixated on what is going on with the twitter stream or on facebook or the online groups. It has become a way of life to see what these little avatars are up to today. 24/7 – Do i really matter to them or them to me. On some level, a little bit but not at the expense of the people whom i am really working to support or who depend on me for meaningful interaction.
I hit sort of the same wall you have hit when it dawned on me that the dogs and the horses had been fed late for two weeks because i was tapping away on some blog or reading a twitter stream. Good God, i never let things go or be done late to watch soap operas. Why would i let an interactive soap opera that i am a minor bit player in, take up that much “living time”.
Over and out and back to the real world. There are some really great people who do not live on the net. A lot of them are related to me or live right down the street. :)
Sandra…others don’t know that we talk rather than tap a keyboard to communicate. But the message here is far too important to keep to ourselves…
One especially good reason for a blog is that you can point a person to a place and say “here…this is what I really think” and others who know you might just corroborate your message.
Fast and instantaneous connectivity has made too easy to pick the phone or not leave the keyboard for “just another minute”; but the downside is indeed, the horses and dogs are fed later than they should be and your love firmly believes that you’re more interested in the electronic device than them.
E. M. Forster wrote, “The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death”; nowhere does he mention time on the computer.
It’s high time we – I – realize exactly what you wrote: “Over and out and back to the real world. There are some really great people who do not live on the net. A lot of them are related to me or live right down the street.”
Sandra, I’ll call you later…
You can look up stats but indeed most people do not live in the world of avatars, it’s a small minority who do. The novelty wears off for most people and personally, I have so many life interests I’m not willing to let go of, it’s the reason I often appear to disappear. As in the case of us Steve, like with many others, I met you as an avatar and it ended up being an IRL friendship… so I don’t knock it.
You’re right Steve. How did we become a society of device-addicted automatons? I think as a society, we’ve drunk so much of the Kool-Aid, we forget what life was like before we became uber-connected. That said, I have met so many great people via virtual connections, I can’t deny enjoying and appreciating that. I guess it comes down to this for me: Virtual connectivity is a great thing when prioritized within one’s life.
Have you heard about the new smartphone game? I heard about it at Gizmodo. It is called stacking and works like this…
When you are out at dinner everyone puts their smartphone on the table, and you either clump them, or stack them together.
First person to check their phone during the course of the meal has to pay.
I completely agree with your post, and in fact the running joke in my family is if you want to get ahold of me on the weekend, call my wife. When I am not working I don’t want to be near a phone.
I think that we are truly in a technological infancy. It is all so new and shiny to us, but I feel that the ship will eventually right itself and things that matter will go back to mattering. Like personal communication.
I am sure when my children are older they will have smartphones that will simply accentuate their lives (like a stereo does for us) and not take it over (like the stereo did for those growing up in the 70’s).
Nice meeting you by the way. I am also a writer and am working on my third book (yet to be published). This one I am just going to market myself and put up on the kindle. You can read a couple of things I have written at:
thegoodmenproject.com search Michael Doran