Are Cellphones Really That Evil?

The Hero of Our Time Isn’t Glued to His or Her Cellphone, states this LinkedIn post.

The author, a self-described social and high tech addict, acknowledges the beauty of being mobile:

“Mobile technology – that is, technology that gives us mobility – is liberating; empowering; enabling; galvanizing and gives us all power to connect not just in ways that are new but from everywhere and anywhere.”

While bringing up this point:

“Take that picture; tweet that thought; share that video and then, as you teeter on the brink of the rabbit hole, put the device in your back pocket or your bag. Turn off the phone and enjoy the moment.”

cell_phones_and_kids

This is exactly what kids look like when they’re on their phones.

Sure; maybe. Just about everything seems to come down to balance and moderation. But at least one problem I see is someone else suggesting his own method of usage for all. It doesn’t work that way.

And then you look at the comments.

I picked the first one as representative (click the post & scroll down to read it in full):

“What many people seem to be afraid of is the moments they want to make special will be gone forever so they attempt to save them by capturing them in a video or picture. What they don’t realize is that those moments have already been ‘saved’ in their mind, even things they aren’t consciously aware of.

“Those moments have been saved with all the sights, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells that accompanied the experience and can be revivified consciously or even unconsciously through things like a smell, a taste, or a song that triggers the memory in a much more experiential way than any video or image. And, it’s only in THEIR minds it has been saved that way.

When people share a video or image with others all of that is lost.”

“So, what most people don’t realize is the dissociation others have to what they’ve shared…[those friends] may laugh, smile, cry, or feel some other emotion for an instant and then move on with what they are actually experiencing in their own world.”

pros-cons-banning-cell-phones-school_d88d43d984c1f101

More kids experiencing things the wrong way in a dictatorial environment!

 

Sure; maybe. There’s always going to be a loss of something when you’re sharing something outside of your own head.

But why do writers write, then? Why do people draw or record songs?

Why do we read, watch, or listen?

Because that’s what we do. That’s the human social animal. We express and we take in.

This comment—by someone who is himself a published author—seems to miss an important nuance.

Every time we share something, it’s always outside of ourselves.

The medium and the devices shouldn’t matter.

The moment we give of ourselves in any way, we’re sharing an experience with others outside that experience. We’re sharing outside of ourselves.

images

Don’t be fooled: They just texted you this picture.

The thing is, you really can have both.

Social is fun and yes, rabbit-hole alluring. It’s an escape, a direct line to your friends, a tendrilly line to strangers, an instant recorder, an auxiliary brain.

It’s all these things and at least one thing more:

Communication.

From where I’m sitting, the world could stand to more of that going on. Yes, even if you have to wade through things you personally don’t care for. Even that’s no different offline.

And cellphones make it so easy to get into this uber-world, perhaps reach out and share with someone you can’t reach out and share with as much as you want in “real life,” perhaps positively affect someone you’ll never meet, and get a little more information out there that people need.

So cellphones, evil? Social media, diabolical? No more than anything else we use to share and express.

Let people use the methods of communication they’re most comfortable with. I don’t think there’s much demand for carrier pigeons any more, anyway.

pigeon-cell-phone

Well, I could be wrong about that.

 

If You’re Sending an Online Business Card, Don’t Do This

business card

In another installment of things LinkedIn lets its affiliates do, I have received several of these:

Subject: <Name> has shared a document.
To: 10 people whose last name starts with “B.”

Body:<Name> has shared their online business card with you. Please click to accept and leave them a comment.

You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? It’s just a business card, only online, like they do. Except this one includes information that surprised me:

<Full name>
<Website>
<Phone number>
<Full address>
<LinkedIn>
<Facebook>
<Twitter>
<Instagram>
<Strange promotional advertisement for Nextdoor>

Full address? Promo? Even Instagram…do these belong on a business card?

Who’s fostering all this? ERated.me. (Incidentally, I did not go further than their splash page because it wants you to sign in with LinkedIn, and I didn’t want it to get ahold of me.)

ERated does allow some flexibility. I received another “online business card” message that, when clicked, took me to a “Leave rating for <Name>!” screen, which has absolutely nothing to do with an online business card and includes the pithy phrase:

Why rate <Name>?

It will help in building their reputation specially if you write a nice recommendation while rating.

I’ll just let that sentence stand on its own.

If you’re going to use this tool  anyway, I recommend:

  • Not sending this to 10 or more people at a time. Just as with My Bizcard, it makes you look spammy or lazy.
  • Not calling it an online business card if it’s something else entirely.
  • Not giving your full home address to strangers. Sure, people can probably look it up, but why make it easy?
  • Not loading your Facebook page with lame public posts. “I’d like to be a nudist but we just don’t have the weather for it” and millions of posters don’t help your personal brand. (Disregard this if your personal brand is to parrot hackneyed phrases and constantly forward other people’s stuff.)

I look at it this way:

When you’re meeting people in person, you don’t just throw your entire box of business cards at them. You take some time, have a meaningful conversation, perhaps even ask first to exchange information. Why should it be any different online?