Why Your Smart Phone Makes You Anti-Social

Much of my business advice involves the following: Show up! 

If we can focus our attention on the others we are meeting with, much more can be accomplished. That’s why I like to turn my smart phone to non-vibrate silent when I’m having meetings.  I don’t want to know about the outside world, because it can wait.  

Unfortunately, for many of us, the smart phone is tethered to our psyche — going with us everywhere and invading our limited attention span with mindless streams of information.  I see smart phone users in their own world, relentlessly checking to see if something has happened, while ignoring all the life around them. 

At conferences, the smart phone is the equivalent of a Barney Video for adults…giving them a way to escape the intellectual stimulation and instead, suck down some drivel to pass the time.  When people are either mobile-surfing or talking, we can’t approach them to network or collaborate. When they break away from a conversation to answer their phone or respond to an email alert, your talk with them is over or hopelessly derailed.  

Sure, we can Instagram, tweet and post on our smartphone.  But what % of the time are we sharing VS just grazing?  The device is a tyrannical one, and most of us can’t escape its lure.  There’s not much of a solution for this malady other than to go phoneless whenever possible.  Don’t take it to the meeting.  Don’t take it with you when you go out, and if you do, leave it in your glovebox. 

It doesn’t want you to hang out with others, because it’s programmed to give you everything you need.  And that’s not very social at all!