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Siri is not your friend.

March 7, 2014

This morning I sat on the bus for 35 minutes next to a couple who never once looked up from their individual iPhones.  They were talking to each other at least but the conversation 100% revolved around their devices.  How to reset their mail count, which version of the phone they had, had they downloaded the new IOS, what did people say about it, how many people had downloaded it, etc etc etc.

I almost got up and moved to another seat.

Technology is great, sure.  It’s enabled us as a civilization to accomplish so many amazing things.  I mean, I can push a button on a screen and then tell you the song that’s playing on a nearby speaker (Shazam is my favorite app ever).  I intentionally built a career for myself in digital media when I started understanding the things that it was going to enable businesses to do.  But after 5 years, I’ve found myself wedged in a digital corner surrounded by hours and hours of work and energy-spent that makes ZERO actual impact on the world.  Yesterday, at the office, I had my more-common-that-is-healthy mini-meltdown about it.

This shit is out of control you guys.

But right, this blog is about gratitude.  I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while. Well, since Thanksgiving of last year.  My friends Todd and Eric hosted dinner at their place for the first time and I went over early to help set-up.  Eric didn’t want any phones out or even nearby during dinner.  He didn’t want any phones out or nearby at all.

One of my jobs in setting up dinner was doing all the lettering; name cards for the table, “put your shoes here” for the entrance, and “put your phone here” for the basket he’d set aside for our phones.

I was legitimately concerned that people would feel uncomfortable parting with their cellphones, so as I sat down to make a sign about it, I thought about a way we could position this so people would be open to it.

cell phone day care

Cell phone day care.  With “be here now” written all the way around it.  Your phones are a part of you, we know.  We’re not asking you to abandon them, we’re just opening up an opportunity for you to have some time apart.

To my surprise, when our friends saw the basket, most of them immediately happily threw their phones right in.  It took me a little while but eventually this glass rectangle became such an unwanted distraction so I willingly and happily threw mine on the pile too.

And I’m not sure if it was completely responsible (the food and the company were amazing as well), but that was one of the best nights I’ve had among friends, ever.

SO. I’m grateful for the perspective that even though technology has changed our world for the better in a lot of ways, I still know how much better it is to look up, look out the window, and talk about something real with your friends.

Next time you’re out with your friends, make a pile and look each other in the eye instead of Siri.

put your phone down

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