Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mobile World

I am currently at Seatac waiting for my (late) plane to head out to Northern Cali for a friend's wedding. On the way here I was checking my email on my iPhone. I shot off a couple of texts. Now I have my laptop fired up, and I can be as productive as I could be at my office in Olympia. Technology makes life on the road ever more productive.

Technology made me pause today on the shuttle when I was observing a father and his two sons. The father sat idly while his two early twenties sons tapped on their smart phones. They could have been playing Fruit Ninja, texting their girlfriend (or boyfriend), or emailing their boss. But the definitely weren't talking to each other. They were isolated while sitting right next to each other.

I am now sitting in Vino Volo. (Side note: I love the Seattle airport. At what other airport can you get a Walla Walla wine with a crab, salmon crostini? Love.) There are many people sitting at tables here. Alone. Typing on their smart phones. Answering emails on the laptops. Making business calls on their cell phones. Almost daily, I find myself honing in on one subject and then tuning into it all around me. Today's subject is technology.

Are we living in an interconnected world that leaves us unconnected? Has our quest to be in touch left us out of touch? Why can't we sit at a meal anymore without somebody answering a ring or a beep? I think it is eroding relationships. Because my sister just had a baby, I now think of things in terms of children. How do you teach children when it is appropriate to be on their phone and when it isn't? When you are on a long road trip and are bored out of your mind, text away. When you are sitting with your grandmother eating lunch, TURN OFF THE DAMN PHONE!

Like all tools, I think we will learn how to use mobile technology to improve our lives and weed out the ways it doesn't. There will be proper etiquette for texting and emailing (and people will follow it). We will text and email to stay in touch with those far away and leave the phone in the car to cultivate relationships right in front of us. I hope.

Signing off. By myself. With my computer. And my iPhone. And a glass of Sauvingon Blanc.

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