Mobile phones have become central to what most people do all day long. Walk in any restaurant or coffee shop and half the people might as well be someplace else. Go to a concert and you will see among the most ridiculous things ever: rows and rows of people holding their phones up, eyes locked onto the phone screen, recording the concert….at a live event. I often wonder: Why bother going to a live event? Why go have coffee with someone if you're going to ignore each other? Just go to lunch with yourself or, better yet, just sit in your office and stare at your phone. You'll save money.
For my part I admit that, while I resisted being as obnoxious as others, I was doing the same thing. So what changed? Well, a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a restaurant and nearly every table was occupied by people completely buried in their phone. I could have run around naked and nobody would have noticed. I know this goes on all day long and, maybe it was the moment, maybe my frame of mind but it struck me. A vision of pure absurdity. 40 humans, most of whom might as well be sitting on the moon\ for all the good being in that restaurant did for them.
So I did the only thing I could do: I deleted Facebook off my phone. Yes, yes….that's stern medicine but the fact of the matter is that Facebook wasn't adding anything to my own sanity on a day by day basis. I suddenly had all this free time to talk to other people…if only they weren't on their phones.
Oddly, this also changed how other people interacted with me. I'd go to lunch, sit down and look at the menu. Select what I wanted and then look over my menu – and my lunch date was still staring at her phone. I waited. She looked up. I could see her eyes dart around my side of the table. Searching in vain for my phone. She smiled and put her phone down. Processing what was going on and figuring out what to say all at the same time. I've done the same thing 3 or 4 times now and the outcome is pretty much the same every time. When we, as a family, have dinner we have a thing where we pile all the phones up in the middle of the table. Nobody pulls their phone out. When we're at to dinner, if you pull your phone out of the pile, you pay!
Now, I run a technology company so I'm no Luddite and I do enjoy the connections that Facebook provides – especially now that I've mercilessly cut down my friends list and unfollowed people who routinely irritate me. However, on a day by day basis, Facebook doesn't make me happy. It drags me back into high school – level baloney. I don't need it. So, what I've decided to do is delete Facebook off my phone during weekdays and if I want I'll install it on my phone for the weekends. That seems like a reasonable compromise….I'll let you know how it goes.