Is it just me, or are a lot of people dropping their chins closer to their chests? Are they navel gazing? No, they’re connecting! That little device in their hands commands rapt, almost idolatrous attention, whether they’re sitting, walking, jaywalking, or driving.
At first glance you’d think the person was praying, head bowed in semi-worship of this nimble tool that seems indispensable. Gives new meaning to “I only have eyes for you!”
And who is “you”? Well, it could be a Tweetheart, a Facebook friend, a texting buddy, or an e-mailer.
I have joined their number, hooked by the power of the “i“: the iPhone and the iPad, both fashioned to meet the needs of the individual. My cousin, whom I have dubbed “the iPad evangelist,” was the first to begin to convert me to their wily ways. Those do-it-alls cater exhaustively to the user, and they sure won me over!
But it’s a strange victory. Although smart devices do provide unparalleled accessibility and versatility, the “connectivity” that we seem incapable of living without robs us of the irreplaceable experience of one-on-one, face-to-face interactions.
I ran into a coworker whom I hadn’t seen in a while. His head was bowed. Given the choice of continuing to give his attention to his smart phone or greet me, he chose the former. Ouch. Was it that important, dude? Really?
Plus, the ante has been upped in our zeal for multitasking. There is, indeed, an app for everything.
Where does it end? And is it worth it?
There’s a subtle fragmenting that goes on with having all of these wonderful programs in the palm of your hand, literally. Your attention is pulled in myriad directions. Sure, you have lots of options, but you have to make choices regarding each of these options.
Do I check my mail first, or Twitter? What if something important shows up on Facebook while I’m updating my apps or texting? Ah, the agony–and the irony! I won’t even mention the addiction.
I look over at the car next to me and see folks sneaking in an opportunity in slow traffic, or at a stop light, to read or respond. Honestly, I get that urge too, and succumb from time to time. And yes, I did sign Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge. Pray for me!
What about you guys? Are you part of the generation of bowed heads?