The ways in which we communicate with others is ever evolving over time. New devices and new communication platforms for these devices are constantly being developed. We are seeing people using their smartphones in more places than ever before. Our smartphones make payments at Starbucks, lets us shop with at grocery stores and do online banking wherever you have a cellular signal.
One thing that ultimately bugs me is the idea that others have about people who use their smartphones for all they are worth. You know the person I am thinking of. This person is the one that groans about their nephew or their granddaughter doing nothing but playing with their smartphone. These people constantly have the false idea that they need to spend more time with people and not their smartphones. These people are the ones that think they are being anti-social. Now, I should probably stop here and mention that, yes, there are those people who are being rude or anti-social and on the rare occasion they are correct. But there is also a misconception.
Let me start with what drove me to write this article. I was recently in an electronics store waiting for help. You sign in on a list so that you are free to lounge or move about the store until your turn. During the wait, a customer was walking in and out of the store talking on his cell phone via the Bluetooth headset he was wearing. The conversation mainly consisted of him complaining about all the people who had their heads buried in their phones and how nobody talks to each other.
This bothered me because I believe that our new devices have actually helped us stay in touch and become more social than we have been so far. If I were in that store without my iPhone, I most likely would not have talked to anyone else in the store except for the person that was going to aid me with my visit. What smartphones are allowing us to do is stay connected when we have those moments of downtime.
Staying in touch over Facebook and Twitter and even being able to play a game with people in my life that are not with me means that I get to stay in touch with them more often than before.
If we think about how communication has changed over time, the man in the store that day is a victim of his own words as well. He was not having any conversation with anyone else in the store, only over the phone. We can start very basic. Before we might have only been able to communicate to those that are distant by writing letters. Telephones were then a staple in every home allowing immediate communication with friends, loved ones and business partners. Cell phones then come into play and we can discuss with anyone just about anywhere.
The difference is that this man was talking over a basic phone. He only had one way to communicate with another person from his phone while smartphone users were able to play games and see pictures of their friends and family and even chat online, all while waiting at the store.
I still think that people should have consideration about what they are doing and when they are doing it with their smartphone. When spending quality time with friends and family isn’t the time for playing those random games with your other friends. Don’t be rude. Focus on the friends and family that are with you. But also, don’t judge someone based on the fact that they are in public using their smartphone for something other than a phone call. They are most likely being more social than you are at the moment.