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Smart Phones vs. People

Written by: Bill Sherman on Monday, 22 September 2008, 2:28 PM

The Economist’s Gulliver blog pointed me towards the following interesting gem:

According to a study conducted for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, 35% would choose their PDA over their spouse–if they absolutely had to choose.

Now, maybe that sobering statistic says something about the overall level of marriage satisfaction (and divorce rates) within contemporaty society. In fact, I’m sure it does. But is it the effect, or the cause?

Let’s take this point to a higher level. There’s a subset of us who have become “Crackberry kids” who spend more time checking our smart-phones duringĀ  meetings, dinner with family, outings with friends, and even that ever-scarce resource of sleep.

Our tech toys help us connect with people (especially thos who are geographically distant from us), but these “weak pings” shouldn’t supplant time with people who are sharing their time physically with us. Remember, that smart phone can’t love you back.

It’s easy to get conditioned to “check your phone for messages.” It’s sometimes even a convenient excuse to get out of a sticky situation. However, it can become a really bad habit.

Next time you feel the urge to pull out your phone during a conversation . . . ask yourself if you’re doing so through habit or because it’s truly urgent?

Remember, some bad habits erode social capital by sending the message that the person in front of you “just isn’t as important as the phone.” Is the signal you want to send?

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