Smart phones build us up and tear us down as we choose.
The information technology age has enabled me and countless others to start businesses and create great careers for ourselves. Publishing and broadcasting are no longer the exclusive realms of big business, requiring large amounts of capital. The internet has leveled the playing field for anyone with an interesting or worthwhile message to compete with major media networks for audience attention.
Thankfully for my business, this includes advertising and public relations. I want to make clear that I’m extremely grateful for what technology has enabled me to do; create a job I love and serve more people every day.
I prefer the desktop experience when working, but lately, I’m using my phone more out of efficiency and convenience. If I can do something easily and quickly on my phone to serve a client, I’m all in! However, I’m human and prone to instant gratification like everyone else. That’s where the smartphone can be dangerous to productivity and progress.
Beware of The Enemy Smartphone!
I often find myself picking up my phone because I know what it can do and because it’s there. For no reason at all, I can pull myself away from an important task to get an update on… I don’t know… There must be something new and cool going on somewhere in my network or the world, right? Why do I rob my myself and others of this valuable time? Because I’ve been conditioned by our culture to “be connected 24/7.”
Now I’m working hard to counter that bad influence! I’m training myself to ignore the amazing shiny object that beckons me with audio-visual notifications.
The do-not-disturb setting or off button can work wonders. And it’s amazing how people move on with their lives after texting or emailing you if you don’t respond right away. Of course, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” However, when I hear my phone ring, I try to pick it up immediately because people making the effort to speak with me usually deserve a returned effort and who knows what opportunity might spring from a real live conversation?
A Touch Too Much!
My new phone is amazing with all its dazzling color brilliance and crisp graphics. Everything on it calls for my fingers to activate it by the slightest touch. In fact, my phone is always ready to open an app and order something online if I simply touch it the wrong way. For example, a travel insurance policy order was placed on my phone apparently by an inadvertent screen touch on some Google ad that I didn’t notice was open. I had to spend significant time on the phone to cancel the order! That’s dangerous in addition to time-wasting. Touch screens tend to be a touch too touchy, in my opinion.
Check it less and reduce your stress!
Technology has, unfortunately, shown us it’s power to diminish happiness as much as enhance it. There is a whole class of addiction surrounding the socially-fueled highs people get from interactions on their devices. At least one of Facebook’s founders even admitted that they designed the platform to hook people on instant social recognition, and they have been successful in that quest.
Oftentimes, the “conversations” that go on in social media will tend criss-cross, with no direct human presence, and lead to anger and stressed out feelings. Just not worth it! People can certainly abuse communication technology and I for one am attempting to align it with my goals and values.
It’s really all about making sensible choices. What tools will provide the most leverage for the task at hand? Are you using the tools to produce or just be amused?
When it comes to business communications, I’ve found nothing works quite like the telephone. Sometimes, keys in the ignition and some road time is what it takes to leverage your business relationships.
Learn From an Expert
My friend and colleague Carol Phillips of Health Design wrote a great article that inspired me to think about how I’m using technology to communicate and get work done. I’m trying to avoid the useless entertainment and chatter that often lead to stress and regret. You may want to read Carol’s excellent article about a more balanced approach for using technology to enhance life rather than detract from it.
Finally, I invite you to call my smartphone at 603-345-7223 if you have questions about using technology – in a good way of course – for your marketing communications.