Engage with me for a moment, will ya?
The other day I was in the ladies room and the gal in the stall next to me was chatting loudly on her cell phone.
“C’mon now!” I said pretty loudly as I flushed the toilet. She continued to chat.
I’d like to say this was a first time occurrence, but it wasn’t. Where has our sense of etiquette and privacy gone? Is this really communication at its best? And I’m not just talking about the overuse of cell phones and texting.
Folks post their daily eating, hygiene and mating schedules on pages like Facebook, leaving nothing to the imagination. I’m not sure why people can’t pick up the phone anymore and call people that truly care about these types of details. (It also amazes me that these people, who appear to post 24/7, have the time to be devoted to so many causes, be such wonderful parents and have such active lives outside of their online existence).
Before you think that I’m some really old fuddy-duddy, I’m not that old, I grew up in the age of big hair bands. But dammit … good taste shouldn’t change that drastically with the
generations! And as a marketer, I know the phenomenal power of these tools; but for
personal communication, nothing replaces reading someone’s face or the tone of their voice?
The age of new technology challenges us on several fronts: privacy, etiquette, personal space, preserving quality time for ourselves and the questionable value of constant communication. Who of us are immune to the temptation of always being available? Gee, what did we do before these instant communication gizmos? Were our loved ones constantly stranded on the side of the road? Were correct decisions not made without our
input? Could it be that we communicated more effectively and with more forethought?
Then: Growing up, my friends knew not to call during dinner time and the phone wasn’t
Now: Cell phones go off constantly in restaurants and talking at the table or while leaving
seems perfectly acceptable.
Then: Living “in the moment” meant being in silent awe looking at the Coliseum in
Rome … sitting there with just the sounds of your imagination of warriors and lions.
Now: Instantly uploading the picture of you in front of the Eiffel tower to your vanity
page to show everyone that you are so cool that you are vacationing in France.
Then: You arrived at work, got your coffee and settled yourself in prior to your official
start time. If you had to make a call, you’d wait until your lunch break.
Now: Part of your new hire training is addressing that texting, emailing, Web surfing and
taking personal phone calls during your work hours is not okay, to astounded faces no
Then: A day off meant you could be in waders, just you and your fly rod in the middle of
the river, the only thing calling you is a nice cold one on the shore. Capable folks were
minding the store.
Now: The BlackBerry/iPhone has got to be on at all times and most definitely waterproof. And no one can be trusted to do the job that you do.
Then: If you had a crush on someone, you’d ride your bike by their house no matter how
out of the way or call and hang up just to hear their voice.
Now: Stalking made easy! You can see the love of your life online now, read about their
sexual preferences and see his or her most flattering bathing suit pictures.
Then: You’re off on a road trip with your favorite person, the top down, singing
“Browned Eyed Girl” at the top of your lungs.
Now: Although it’s illegal in most states, you’re trying to drive and text, as work really
can’t wait for an answer. Meanwhile, your special date is struggling how to convert smiley
faces ☺ into actual words.
C’mon on folks … there is a reason why the phrase “stop and smell the roses” has been around for so long. Pick up the phone and call your favorite people – 50 e-mails, text messages or e-birthday cards can’t replace the sound of your voice.
Give the people you are with the best of compliments: turn your cell phones and computers off and just GO BE!