I’m Not Really Here

Textbreak

I was talking with a friend about an event she’d attended. She said that it was okay, but she noted that a lot of people there were really into their Twitter accounts and not really giving as much attention to the people in front of their faces. Whether it’s text, Facebook, FourSquare, or Twitter, I’ve noticed a lot of this behavior, myself.

It’s not okay.

If you’re there to meet people and talk with them, then put your phone away. Barring any emergency calls you might be worried to receive, keep your phone put away while talking with people. If you really need to sneak in a glance of the online world, sneak off to the bathroom and do it there.

If you’re looking at your phone and not me, you’re saying, “You’re not as important as these people who aren’t here with us right now.” If you’re checking your phone while we’re talking, you’re saying, “I really don’t care what you’re talking about.” If you’re into your phone and can’t seem to put it down, you’re telling me, “I can’t really focus, so what do you really expect from me if we work together?”

It’s not okay. Even though society seems to turn away politely while you do it. Even though we’re all digital junkies. Even though there are a hundred little exceptions.

Put your phone in your pocket/purse/bag/whatever. If you catch me doing it during any meetups or events, call me out. Lord knows I’ll tell you. : )

Oh, and you’re doing it wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree more. Whenever people are out attending conferences or even just travelling they are most concerned about updating their status rather than be a part of the thing they are doing. It is not always necessary to remain connected to your online audience. In fact if you can help it (of course you can help it if you’re not a health professional) you should switch your phone off while attending events. The sky is not going to fall.

  • Anonymous

    Great post! There are times when this is acceptable and times when this is not. I feel that some people use their phone as their best friend and by default, if they are not mentally stimulated by their audience, they will turn to something ‘more interesting’, which in this case happens to be their phone.

  • Anonymous

    Great post! There are times when this is acceptable and times when this is not. I feel that some people use their phone as their best friend and by default, if they are not mentally stimulated by their audience, they will turn to something ‘more interesting’, which in this case happens to be their phone.

  • Anonymous

    Great post! There are times when this is acceptable and times when this is not. I feel that some people use their phone as their best friend and by default, if they are not mentally stimulated by their audience, they will turn to something ‘more interesting’, which in this case happens to be their phone.

  • Mary

    tweetups are so fun because I get to actually meet the avatars I’ve been following! Way more fun in that moment than being on twitter!

  • Carrie

    Much of this is true, and generally speaking it’s totally rude to be on the phone or checking e-mail when you’re engaging with another person. This should be a no brainer. But, I think you need to draw a distinction between the networking and social aspects of an event, versus the educational aspect. If you are in a session and tweeting or doing video for your followers and subscribers, that’s the point, and certainly you wouldn’t be socializing during those moments anyway. You also have to consider value added. I often use my tweets as notes for a follow up blog post later, further providing value to readers. So, it really depends. I think responsible communicators and common sense networkers know the difference. One thing I have noticed, though, is people not looking each other in the eye when they’re talking, even if there is no phone or distraction. It’s like they’re waiting for something else more exciting to happen…even more rude!

  • Carrie

    Much of this is true, and generally speaking it’s totally rude to be on the phone or checking e-mail when you’re engaging with another person. This should be a no brainer. But, I think you need to draw a distinction between the networking and social aspects of an event, versus the educational aspect. If you are in a session and tweeting or doing video for your followers and subscribers, that’s the point, and certainly you wouldn’t be socializing during those moments anyway. You also have to consider value added. I often use my tweets as notes for a follow up blog post later, further providing value to readers. So, it really depends. I think responsible communicators and common sense networkers know the difference. One thing I have noticed, though, is people not looking each other in the eye when they’re talking, even if there is no phone or distraction. It’s like they’re waiting for something else more exciting to happen…even more rude!

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    Presence of mind is a lost art in the age of technology.

    When you’re somewhere, be there. Not anywhere else. The most precious gift you offer someone is your full attention.

    I turn the phone off until later in the day. I check email once a day tops. I don’t even bother with replies from social networking sites until late in the day. The practice fosters presence of mind like no other. You’re less concerned with being connected to any single person and more concerned with being connected to the moment.

    Thanks for sharing and have a powerful day!

    Ryan

  • http://www.roccocapra.com/ Rocco

    I always make it a point to put ‘physical’ people above ‘virtual’ people. And yes, it really irks me when someone does the opposite!

    “Don’t over look the point that I made the sacrifice to be in your presence, and neither will I.”

  • http://www.blog.marketmou.com Patricia Skinner

    I totally agree Chris. I’ve also read about a couple of events lately where people are tweeting news instead of responding when someone needs help: disgusting. they’re placing themselves in the Matrix quite voluntarily.

  • http://www.blog.marketmou.com Patricia Skinner

    I totally agree Chris. I’ve also read about a couple of events lately where people are tweeting news instead of responding when someone needs help: disgusting. they’re placing themselves in the Matrix quite voluntarily.

  • http://twitter.com/JeremiahOsGo J. Osborne-Gowey

    How’d you know I’m doing it wrong, Chris?! ;) Well, I am. But it’s still my way. And continually evolving. Currently, I generally tweet/FB something at the beginning of an event. Some insight or something that particularly struck me. Then the phone disappears until event’s end when I may (or may not) post some pics/thoughts/links.

    Bathroom stall media checks?! What?! Who does that?! Ok, I admit it. I do, too. But I have a strict rule, to which I never break. Once the pants open, there ain’t no more touchin’…of the phone, that is. I have this recurring “daymare” where I see all these creepy-crawly bugs slithering all around everyone’s cell phones. And I have often wondered how dirty cell phones are compared to things like money, bathroom floors, door handles, etc. Hmm…that’d be a good study/blog post!

  • http://twitter.com/JeremiahOsGo J. Osborne-Gowey

    How’d you know I’m doing it wrong, Chris?! ;) Well, I am. But it’s still my way. And continually evolving. Currently, I generally tweet/FB something at the beginning of an event. Some insight or something that particularly struck me. Then the phone disappears until event’s end when I may (or may not) post some pics/thoughts/links.

    Bathroom stall media checks?! What?! Who does that?! Ok, I admit it. I do, too. But I have a strict rule, to which I never break. Once the pants open, there ain’t no more touchin’…of the phone, that is. I have this recurring “daymare” where I see all these creepy-crawly bugs slithering all around everyone’s cell phones. And I have often wondered how dirty cell phones are compared to things like money, bathroom floors, door handles, etc. Hmm…that’d be a good study/blog post!

  • http://opencobra.com Open Cobra

    I love it when I see two people eating out at a nice restaurant and BOTH of them are playing on their cell phones and completely ignoring each other. Ah, quality time together isn’t what it used to be.

  • Vaughan

    You are clearly correct – constant device-checking and use is rude, ignorant, annoying, and ultimately, self-destructive.

    However, there is an onus on event organizers to shape events to be more engaging. We are in “the experience economy” as it has been called, and deserve engaging experiences.

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    Chris

    I, like so many, agree but Steve Garfield has a point. If it is accepted by the company you are with then it is not rude.

    I turned off the emails to my phone 8 months ago and have never looked back. I am a mad texter though and have gotten “phone violations” from my son as trying to play with Lego men and text does not work so well.

  • http://www.rasolved.com R. Anthony Solis

    Exactly. Walking through the stores, eating at restaurants or sadly, at church; people’s faces are buried in their phones. A few years back I remember it was the blue tooth always being on. People talking to people on the phone while in front of others. Now it’s seeing the back of an iPhone, Android or BB.

    Great post and reminder for us to be “fully present”.

    RAS☺

  • Cassie

    AMEN! I am writing/ “typing” a book called “BizEtiquette” and this is a hot topic. Thanks for shedding even more light on this.
    @SmartyCassie

  • Anonymous

    This brings up a whole bigger issue that I’ve fought with over the years and that’s multi-tasking. If by multi-taking, you are splitting your attention between several tasks, then no single task gets your full, undivided focus. It is a diservice to the task(s) your trying to complete and, as Chris is talking about in this post, it’s a diservice to people you are trying to engage with.

    Maybe it all comes down to priorities. If you can prioritize well, then there’s no need for multi-tasking, since there’s now a time and a place for everything.

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    You get a huge AMEN on this one Chris!
    Aside from being rude, perhaps we are missing valuable insight because we are so busy tweeting about it.
    Respectfully,
    Paul Castain

  • tomwloftus

    Valueless comments for a Sat afternoon: I guess the photo relates in reference to the officer checking his phone, but at first I thought your reference was to the woman on the right in the “ninja-style” outfit trying to blend in with her surroundings. One other quick note – I always think this photo of the rat pack looks like SDJr is checking his phone:http://therattrick.com/files/2010/07/rat-pack1.jpg (was he a time traveller?)

  • tomwloftus

    Valueless comments for a Sat afternoon: I guess the photo relates in reference to the officer checking his phone, but at first I thought your reference was to the woman on the right in the “ninja-style” outfit trying to blend in with her surroundings. One other quick note – I always think this photo of the rat pack looks like SDJr is checking his phone:http://therattrick.com/files/2010/07/rat-pack1.jpg (was he a time traveller?)

  • http://twitter.com/KateEGrey Kate Grey

    Right on, Chris. It’s rude. (And yes, I admit I’m guilty from time-to-time.)

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    I can really be guilty of this sometimes, yipes!

    Funny thing is that I presented at a fully tech geeked conference this week and set aside last 30 minutes to invite the attendees to close their laptops, put down the phones and engage.
    Wow did it work, an awkward moment maybe, but it made a huge impact.

    Amen Brother!

  • http://twitter.com/JonStow Jon Stow

    Someone was doing this; fiddling with her phone during Sunday lunch. Very annoying but I won’t embarrass her by naming her because she’s my sis.

  • yvonne

    Yes, everywhere are people like this. Even in class students will check their cellphones from time to time. sometimes I really want to ask”can you just be with us for two hours?” But I have to admit that I will do the same thing- take our the cellphone from pocket and look down at it- when I am with my friends. And sometimes if there is one person doing this, someone else will follow him. I think that’s why mobile market is growing to be the next target platform for social media. From this perspective, it’s really hard to say that social media are getting people closer to each other because people are addicted to the virtual world that the real world is ignored. A recent survey revealed that 26% of social media users prefer building relationships online to going out to meet people. I hope the number will not increase.

  • Guest

    I think its more prevalent in the under 30 crowd who grew up playing video games for hours on end.

  • commoncents

    Of course I have a phone and of course I use it. And you are right Chris, in social occassions, or in small public areas, it’s never OK. Turn it off and ……..take a few minutes outside the area to check your calls if you have to.

    When I see a girl who gets orgasmic in public, when their phone beeps or they’re texting, my first thought is how lonely they seem. (it’s similar to addiction, just them and their drug of choice)

    Is their reality so dull that taking a call or sending a text is more important than engaging? No one is that important, but evidently everyone is that bored. Or.. those texts are really really interesting!

    If you were on the street laughing while looking at your phone, people would not think much of it as they passed by. If you were walking down the street, laughing while looking at a book, people would cross to the other side. Wouldn’t they?

  • Anonymous

    true true true!

  • Anonymous

    true true true!

  • Anonymous

    true true true!

  • Anonymous

    true true true!

  • Anonymous

    true true true!

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    It feels like we’re back in high school again (or actually, more like middle school). We were never really there, our thoughts were everywhere and we were passing notes to each other. The teacher tried to get our attention, but did it work? Nah :)

  • http://twitter.com/warza Richard Azia

    delete

  • http://twitter.com/warza Richard Azia

    There’s a simple rule. Don’t touch the phone when you’re chatting with people unless they do it to. Quick glances are allowed but not to the detriment of the conversation. If you’re in a hall listening to a presentation tweeting to keep others up to speed is acceptable as long as the wifi holds out.

    At a dinner table though keep the phone away. If you made the effort to go out why waste time communicating with those that haven’t taken the time to see you in person?

  • http://karate-kids.com.au Sensei Matt Klein

    Good way to filter someone on a date. If she’s on the phone all night, will not call again.

  • RonaldMDavies

    Not really a trend. Been going on since SMS came out, only exacerbated by social media. Alas, not a problem with twitter, a problem with manners :)

  • http://www.jasonmoffatt.com Jason Moffatt

    Instead of blaming the person on the phone, how about laying blame on the person who’s too boring to capture the attention? If you are competing with a incoming text and you’re losing the battle, I’d say the problem may be yours, not theirs. Or you could just shift the blame like most people do.

  • http://www.jasonmoffatt.com Jason Moffatt

    Instead of blaming the person on the phone, how about laying blame on the person who’s too boring to capture the attention? If you are competing with a incoming text and you’re losing the battle, I’d say the problem may be yours, not theirs. Or you could just shift the blame like most people do.

  • http://twitter.com/OnionDan Daniel

    I think its worse when you go out with your friends and they are sat looking at facebook……Hang on, your out with the people on facebook!

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Totally agree. I hate being in meetings with someone and they get a call and the answer it when it’s obviously not an important call. That’s what voice mail is for.

    I sometimes turn my phone completely off when I am going into a meeting. I don’t want anything to distract me from giving someone my all.

  • http://www.flashxml.net/banner-rotator.html flash banner

    I agreed to that, you should always focus on the work which you are for instead of getting busy in something useless. If you have targeted to talk to the people then do that , you will surely get good results.

  • Megan

    I completely agree – I also find it so disrespectful when you’re in a business meeting with someone and they keep glancing at their phone and actually take a call if it comes in, WHILE you’re speaking!

  • http://www.mpoweringu.com Brian Hamlett

    I think most of it is due to all the social media “gurus” (not saying you here) saying that you need to be online all the time and find great/valuable content to tweet/post in the moment so you can look like an expert, a connected professional, and grow an audience.

    I myself can be a bit guilty at times, but it’s really more during presentations at events and rarely when talking to an individual (except for emergencies.) Why? Because I’m actually taking notes on my laptop and have turned Tweetdeck into my “digital notebook” using Twitter. When I want my notes, I just go back and check my stream and I have all the key bullet points and links to the cited resources. So if I’m listening to you speak up on stage Chris and you see me typing on my laptop, it’s merely because I’m trying to grab the gold nuggets in what you’re sharing with us. Don’t worry, I promise I’ll look back up at you once I finish typing! ;)

  • Alaska

    I agree with this post 100%. I had a friend over one time while my brother was in town, and most of us were all sitting out back just making normal small talk. My friend was texting or playing games or whatever on his phone, completely out of the current conversation going on. It made my dad feel so disrespected he told my friend to just go inside and sit on the couch if he wasnt going to even try and engage in conversation. Shortly afterwards he put up a sign in our entryway above a bowl that said “please leave your cellphone at the door”.

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