Don’t Ignore Your Tech – Choose Different Friends

watch showing steve telling me that Apple Music is outI was listening to TWiT this week and Georgia Dow was pleading with people to put down their tech and engage with each other. Becky Worley responded by talking about what the implications are when you look at your watch because you received a notification. Iain Thomson suggested that especially on a date you should put away your tech.

I would like to suggest there’s another way to look at this. Let’s say you really like tech. Let’s say it’s really important to you and a way that you keep connected with the world and your friends. Maybe you should choose friends/dates based on people with that common interest instead of giving up what you love?

Let’s pretend I went on a date with a man who loved music. Should he shut off his music whenever we’re together because I don’t favor music? Or should he perhaps realize that I’m not the right woman for him if I don’t like it?

This week Maryanne Garry (the professor who messes your memories) spent a few days with Steve and me. We had no activities planned and we all talked about how enjoyable it was to just sit around and play with our tech. We’d be reading articles, tweeting, writing, and yet interacting in between activities. Did you see this hilarious video? I just found a great article on memory, let me read you a bit of it. Oh my gosh this talking dog is killing me! Let me check IMDB for what movie we should watch. Have you figured out how to get notifications to work the way you like it on your Apple Watch? These are the conversations we had throughout her visit and we were all glued to our Macs, all playing with our watches…and couldn’t have been happier.

I do have one comment on notifications though. When I first got the Apple Watch I had it set to both tap me and make a sound. I was talking to Lindsay one night about something really important to her, and my watch tapped and dinged. She said, “I’ll wait”. I had NO INTENTION of even looking at my wrist during this conversation much less answering the notification. Since then I’ve turned off the sound so that I get to choose when to look without the other person worrying about it. If I’m just hanging out with someone I’ll check it and no one I want to hang out with would care, but if I’m in a conversation where I’m super engaged I can choose to ignore the watch.

I’m curious what you think about my point of view vs. the current trend which is to yell at us for enjoying our tech.

9 thoughts on “Don’t Ignore Your Tech – Choose Different Friends

  1. Uncle Bob - June 30, 2015

    Most of the push and pull of tech vs. human interaction stems from the degree, or lack thereof, of ‘meaningful’ interaction. Meaningful interaction in this discussion refers to one-on-one interpersonal communication. The hue and cry from many is that modern technology is taking us away from eyeball to eyeball communication. Many fear that real relationships between people are being stunted through artifice and gimmickry that allow us to hide truer feelings. While social platforms like FB, Twitter, etc. open many opportunities and new paths toward building relationships, those very same platforms also allow us to circumvent interactions. For example, texts are very useful tools in communicating ideas and exchanging information, but can never replace one-on-one interaction. The weak link with technology and communication is that most communication is non verbal. We actually need to see and hear to pick up the non verbal cues that make up the bulk of true interactions. When technology hampers or prevents one-on-one interactions it’s time to rethink what our priorities are. Finding and hanging around people that share common interests is easy. Truly communicating with others without common interests requires interpreting a panoply of verbal and non verbal cues that technology just doesn’t help with.

  2. Bootsy Hambone - June 30, 2015

    If I limit myself to friendships with people who share my passion for music, then I’m missing out on friendships with people who don’t share that passion (sound like anyone you know, Al?). While I agree that relationships/friendships with people who share common interests/passions can be a lot more fun, I don’t want to miss out on relationships/friendships with people who have different ones. I also don’t want to lose touch with friends I’ve had a long time with whom I USED to share common interests. We may have moved in different directions, but sharing what we’ve learned and what we enjoy now just makes the friendship richer.

  3. Jim Sewell - June 30, 2015

    I have a boss that will almost have a heart attack trying to get to his phone every time it dings or vibrates no matter what he’s doing. In fact, I read an article that said people like that are more likely to have a heart attack than those of us who can finish the conversation before looking at it.

    There is little more annoying than trying to talk about something related to work and having to stop and repeat myself because his wife or son sent him a text. I don’t want to put that annoyance on people I interact with, especially not on a date! If there is something important you are waiting on then tell them at the start of the date/dinner/etc. and wait for the end of a sentence to look at it then I’m fine with it but if you cut me off mid-sentence it just makes me frustrated/angry.

    If you are in the social context such that you are all looking at funny videos and interesting articles that’s a good time too, but not when only one of you are doing that and the other is just trying to enjoy their time or an activity with you.

    That’s my take on it.

  4. podfeet - July 1, 2015

    Uncle Bob – I do get how the non-verbal cues are so important and how the winky face doesn’t quite do the same thing. I also think that we have a wider fabric of friends now as a result of technology. I don’t think I’ve lost the direct interaction but I’ve gained Internet friends – like you! We also have continuing relationships with real-life friends we don’t get to see often, and these are enriched because we can “talk” to them via text, Facebook, G+, Twitter, FaceTime and Skype.

  5. podfeet - July 1, 2015

    Bootsy – I find (and I may be the odd woman out here) that I can be super good acquaintances with people who don’t share my interest in tech, but they don’t quite fit the full friend category for me. It limits how much fun I can have with them because I have to put away my toys and not talk about my passion. Does that make sense?

  6. podfeet - July 1, 2015

    Jim – ok, there’s always the crazy person. I think there are a fair number of people like!

  7. Jim Sewell - July 1, 2015

    You may have missed my point. Being the other person to my “crazy boss” shows me how annoying it is for someone trying to interact with a person who is a slave to tech.

    Bottom line in my wordy post is that if you are with the right people in the right setting then have at it with your tech, but if you are with someone in a social setting, like a date, don’t Facebook them! Put down the phone and talk and enjoy each other in what you call “meatspace”.

  8. Bootsy Hambone - July 1, 2015

    Al, I understand exactly what you’re saying about the closeness you have with people who share your passion for all things tech. As you can imagine, most of my close friends are musicians. As you ALSO know, I’ve been a tekkie for a long time (that’s how we met). For some reason, most of my tekkie friends fall under that “super good acquaintances” category.

    Jim, as I read these comments, it comes to mind that all we really need to do in any setting with any group of people is to not forget to be courteous.

  9. Dean - July 1, 2015

    Al,
    The situation you are describing is similar to me watching a hockey game with friends interested in hockey. We can watch the game and converse at the same time and really enjoy each other’s company and the game. However, some of my friends have very little interest in Hockey. If I watched Hockey every time I spent time with my non-hockey friends it would get old for them very fast and likely hurt our relationship. I say everything in moderation. There is a time for tech and hockey (actually quite a lot of time for both) but also a time for uninterrupted conversation and glorious quiet. I love tech but I also love unplugging every once and a while. I enjoy meeting people where they are at.

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