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Balancing mobile with human interaction
Old 06-15-2015, 09:06 AM   #1
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Balancing mobile with human interaction

Not a new topic, but I was recently confronted with this. Went to an impromptu lunch with four friends, all slightly older than me.

After ordering, the three men were consumed with their phones/tablets and the woman was on her iPhone sporadically for the entire time until our food came out - at least 10 minutes. One guy continued to play with his tablet throughout. None of them were doing anything important, or in common to the group! Right or wrong, responding to the occasional call or text or maybe looking something up relevant to a real time conversation seem to be normal these days, but they've never been fully engrossed in their own little mobile world like that before .

I wasn't very friendly that lunch, not sure I was fully aware why at the time, but in retrospect I was subconsciously PO'd at their preoccupation with their mobile devices. If it happens again, despite longstanding friendships I will probably leave $ for my meal, point out the mobile preoccupation, and just leave. What's the point of getting together for a meal if not to interact?

What would you do?

And I am convinced it's all generations now, not just kids. I see people of all ages ignoring each other playing with their phones or texting and driving, stupid - stupid- stupid.

[/rant]
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:23 AM   #2
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Here is what you do... Everyone puts all of their phones/tablets face down in a pile in the center of the table... If anyone pulls theirs out before the meal is over, they pick up the tab.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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Here is what you do... Everyone puts all of their phones/tablets face down in a pile in the center of the table... If anyone pulls theirs out before the meal is over, they pick up the tab.
That's a good idea.

You could send them text messages asking what they think about Millennials not acquiring the same social skills Boomers have because of excessive use of mobile devices.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:33 AM   #4
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You could send them text messages asking what they think about Millennials not acquiring the same social skills Boomers have because of excessive use of mobile devices.
Wish I would have thought of that at the time, but I will use it if there's a next time. Thanks.

Might be partly "herd mentality" too. If one does it, others soon follow.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:33 AM   #5
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You might have to text them that you are leaving, otherwise they might not notice!

Next time an invite comes along, I'd point out what happened last time and say that you just aren't interested if people are going to be on their phones. And maybe suggest Chilli's idea.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:34 AM   #6
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?... If it happens again, despite longstanding friendships I will probably leave $ for my meal, point out the mobile preoccupation, and just leave
...
They won't even notice.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:36 AM   #7
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Here is what you do... Everyone puts all of their phones/tablets face down in a pile in the center of the table... If anyone pulls theirs out before the meal is over, they pick up the tab.
That's an awesome idea!

I recently returned from a trip to Mexico with two other couples. I didn't bring my smart phone because A) it wouldn't work in Mexico and B) I wanted to disconnect from the 'rest of the world'. I did have a throw away flip phone (that I LOVE, by the way) in case there was an emergency with my elderly father...other than that, I was disconnected *most* of time (I was guilty of being on ER.org a couple of times with my Kindle though ). What I did notice was that the two other couples that were there with us couldn't stop using their phones/iPads/etc. They left long before we did (they had to go back to w*rk) and were complaining that it felt like vacation was just way too short and it was like they didn't even leave "the real world" at all. Well?!? I wonder why?!? I usually enjoy being with those couples, but I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt, I will NOT be inviting them on any other trips.

Don't get me wrong, I love the technological advances we have made, but sometimes I wish that for a couple of days a week, the internet, TV, and other "entertainment" advances just DIDN'T work. Kinda like trying to get Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday...it just ain't happening! I think that would do wonders for our society.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:46 AM   #8
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Don't get me wrong, I love the technological advances we have made, but sometimes I wish that for a couple of days a week, the internet, TV, and other "entertainment" advances just DIDN'T work. Kinda like trying to get Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday...it just ain't happening! I think that would do wonders for our society.
+1. Having my iPad & iPhone is incredibly useful. But I use both when I am alone mostly, not with others generally. Looking up something that adds to the conversation is OK IMO, but I don't get interacting with others or web browsing while in a group setting. Well on my way to curmudgeon I guess...
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:50 AM   #9
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Next time, push your phone to the center of the table, face down.
See what develops.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:39 AM   #10
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Next time, push your phone to the center of the table, face down.
See what develops.
Just so happens my iPhone WAS face down near the center of the table...
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:54 AM   #11
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Next time tell them you'll attend via text!
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:09 AM   #12
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Just so happens my iPhone WAS face down near the center of the table...
Make a prolonged, over-the-top gesture as you place the phone in the middle of the table? Think of NBA dunk . . .
Just kidding. You probably get more interaction here.

My mobile phone story form the weekend: went out to a show, and we were seated at a table maybe 10 feet from performers. Me and co-pilot, and two strangers. Everyone had there phone on the table, but only I could resist turning it over. It was no big deal. I think mobile interaction is expected at live music events. Still, it is distracting as people wake up their displays. Some are very large and you can almost read the facebook post. [Idea for social engineering hack here.]
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:09 AM   #13
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Everyone has fallen into the "what am I missing" and "am I the center of the world" mentality. I've sometimes suggested places where I know cell phone coverage was horrible, I've also suggested places where you shouldn't have cell phones.


I guess I notice people bring out their cell phones when the conversation languishes, so the other thing is to bring them back into the conversation, hey deb, did I hear you xyz or remember when abc.. if they brush you off at that point then I'd call it quits. Of course I'd also be the person who would point it out, ie not sure why you came out for lunch if you would clearly rather be elsewhere... but my friends know that's what to expect of me... calling people on their BS.


I expect people to look up stuff if they can't remember it, check messages, etc but I expect my friends when they pick up their phone to "explain". Hey, just going to check the score, need to check on my kids, need to see what time the movie starts.. then its done with consideration that we both acknowledge.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:22 PM   #14
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I do think it is rude to be totally inattentive to the people around you. On the other hand, I do pull my phone out sometimes with people -- I get a text and want to check (could be one of the kids needing something), or at a restaurant I want to look up nutritional content of food, or someone says something I want to look up something about it.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:41 PM   #15
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It would have bothered me as well. I was at lunch with a buddy recently, I think he maybe checked his phone a couple/three times, probably just to see if any important emails came in. That was fine, he wasn't absorbed in it.

It's not just phones. I remember an extended family vacation, we all had a big house together. One family group turns on the TV, plops down and watches whatever was on (it wasn't some special show they just 'had' to see). This went on for hours, and I'm getting PO'd. I might as well be out on my own, I actually feel lonelier in a room of people who are not interacting. Are they afraid of meaningful conversation?

I'd mention it to them before the next outing - Hey guys, are we gonna talk or sit there and web browse and read emails - I can do that at home!

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Old 06-15-2015, 02:26 PM   #16
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here is what you do... Everyone puts all of their phones/tablets face down in a pile in the center of the table... If anyone pulls theirs out before the meal is over, they pick up the tab.

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Old 06-15-2015, 03:00 PM   #17
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On the other hand, I do pull my phone out sometimes with people -- I get a text and want to check (could be one of the kids needing something), or at a restaurant I want to look up nutritional content of food, or someone says something I want to look up something about it.
+1. An occasional look, or a legit issue are fine, smartphones are here to stay (and that's good IMO). Even doing a search on a phone IF it adds to the conversation.

But my friends (and they truly are), were literally absorbed for about 10 minutes, one for even longer. It didn't quite register at the time, and I'll nip it in the bud if there's a next time. Not sure what possessed them all that day, unless again once one did it the others followed (like sheep).
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:13 PM   #18
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We were on our way to a family gathering and I told our sons, "No devices at the table until Uncle B pulls out his phone and yells into it."

We made it all the way to dessert!

Uncle B is 68 and severely attached to his Android smartphone. Any topic being discussed and Uncle B has to ask his smartphone to verify some bit of minutia. You just need to speak clearly toward the phone but Uncle B holds it very close and shouts into it. Then he has to try it a 2nd and 3rd time because the phone didn't quite get it.

This gathering was at Uncle B's house so he's allowed to do what he wants.
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:24 PM   #19
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Not a new topic, but I was recently confronted with this. Went to an impromptu lunch with four friends, all slightly older than me.

After ordering, the three men were consumed with their phones/tablets and the woman was on her iPhone sporadically for the entire time until our food came out - at least 10 minutes. One guy continued to play with his tablet throughout. None of them were doing anything important, or in common to the group! Right or wrong, responding to the occasional call or text or maybe looking something up relevant to a real time conversation seem to be normal these days, but they've never been fully engrossed in their own little mobile world like that before .

I wasn't very friendly that lunch, not sure I was fully aware why at the time, but in retrospect I was subconsciously PO'd at their preoccupation with their mobile devices. If it happens again, despite longstanding friendships I will probably leave $ for my meal, point out the mobile preoccupation, and just leave. What's the point of getting together for a meal if not to interact?

What would you do?

And I am convinced it's all generations now, not just kids. I see people of all ages ignoring each other playing with their phones or texting and driving, stupid - stupid- stupid.

[/rant]
It is all generations that now have a digital addiction.

You can go to the top of a ski mountain and find plenty of digital zombies just staring into their phones. Its very strange.

I recently heard a medical report about how many people are going to have back and shoulder problems because they hunch over for hours a day in a awkward position staring at their cell phones.
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