Ladies and Gentlemen - Put Your Phones Away.....please.
Anyone who spends much time with me, knows how riled I get with folks who text and drive.
I ride a motorcycle and I do NOT want to do evasive maneuvers just so YOU can keep up with your Twitter - Instagram - Facebook - or news feed from wherever.
However, texting while driving is NOT the subject today.
The whole phenomenon of people at an event who are paying more attention to their phones really got my attention at my first MuteMath concert back in March of 2012. Julie and I were among the oldest people in the crowd and we noticed how much more attention the "young people" were paying to their phones even though they were in close proximity to one of the best live bands I have ever seen in concert. (And I have been going to concerts for over 40 years.)
At that point I figured the willingness to ignore the world in front of your face in order to pay MORE attention to your cyber world was limited to the aforementioned Young People.
The second event that got my attention in this regard happened when I was flown to Washington DC as a guest of The Alliance for Main Street. They brought retailers from all over the country to lobby Congress about taxing sales on the Internet. (Here is my post from that trip.)
I did not mention it in my blog, but I talked to Julie about something that happened while in DC that really upset me. Here was a group of business people from all over the country. The AMS group had paid for us to fly in from our homes, put us up at a nice hotel for the night, and fed us a nice dinner and breakfast. After the breakfast they wanted to meet with us before we went out to lobby our Congress members. They wanted to give us 20 minutes of training on how to be effective when we spoke to our elected officials and/or their staff.
I looked around the room and over half of the 70 or so people where busy tapping away on their phones during the morning meeting. COME ON - these people paid for us to be here, can you at least pay attention to their message - or just PRETEND to pay attention - out of respect?
This issue came to a head yesterday. I attended a Lunch and Learn put on by our Chamber of Commerce. We had a lady from the governor's office in town to talk to us about the future of energy in Michigan. The lady, Valerie Brader, is no slouch. Here is an excerpt from her official CV:
"Brader received her AB magna cum laude in government from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, has two masters degrees from the University of Oxford (an MSc in Environmental Change and Management and an MSt in Historical Studies), and a J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown Law Center. Brader was the past winner of the Harvard College Women's Leadership Award and was first-runner up in the Pacific Legal Foundation's national writing competition. "
We do not get a lot of folks with multiple cum laude degrees who address our meetings, never mind that she is from the Governor's office.
Anyway - we ate lunch and then Valerie spoke for 20 minutes or so. Once again, a good number of the people in the room had far more important things happening on their phones.
Look, I know that real issues can arise that MUST be dealt with. But there is no way that 20 or more people out of a group of 60 had fires to put out in less than half an hour.
Show some respect - the person addressing the meeting has probably put time and effort into preparing what he or she has to say. Get outside of yourself and imagine it is YOU at the podium. Would you want to look out over your audiance and see half of them bent over their phones with thumbs busy updating their Facebook status?
If folks want to spend money on a concert and then ignore the performers that are right in their face so that they can indulge in social media, that is their choice I guess. That being said, Julie and I attended a Chrissie Hynde concert in Detroit and she repeatedly asked people to put away their phones and had a guy in the balcony shine lights on those who ignored her polite request that they not take pictures during the show. (It should be noted, that she gave everyone in the theater free rein to snap away during the encore.) I also understand that more and more Broadway performers are getting riled by audience members who are NOT fully present.
Bottom line: Please show more respect for the men and women who are taking the time and making the effort to make a presentation. Put your phone down! Imagine yourself in their shoes and put the Golden Rule into action.
Cliff and his wife, Julie Claire DeVoe, own and operate a small jewelry store
in Lowell Michigan. Chimera Design opened in 2002. Take a peek: