This week, a set of photos went viral on the website BoredPanda. The London photographer, Babycakesromero takes snaps of what he sees around town. He put together a collection of photos of people absorbed in their phones whilst in the company of others. One of them is the photo above. My view as to why it went viral is that it speaks to an unspoken awareness that this behaviour isn’t serving us.
It raises the question of our relationship with technology. This is a topic close to my heart as readers of this blog will know.
Lior Frenkel, founder of the movement to undigitize.me has a fun and pointed TED talk on this topic. He throws out several stats that make it hard to ignore that as a species we have a challenge. The average user checks their smartphone at least 110 times a day. He mentions a huge shift in the cultural sensitivity to use of phones in public. What was not acceptable fifteen years ago, is seen as perfectly fine now.
Changes start with awareness. And for each of us, the impact of technology in our lives will be something slightly different. The question to ponder on is how is technology getting in the way of being in relationship with the people that matter to you? And then what are you willing to do about that?
The questions are easy but the change in our behaviour is hard. The rewards of being connected are physiological and psychological. Connecting with what matters to you is the first important step.