Letter to the Oregonian on cellphones – mobile

Dear Oregonian,

I read the article recently about the teacher who finds her students texting and her reaction to that experience. I gave up my cellphone 2 years ago and have hardly looked back. I first did it because I didn’t like the disruptions in my life – phone calls, texts, you know the drill.  While others have been stepping up more and more towards smart phones, I continue my distance. It’s interesting because I’m in the high-tech industry, have been for the past 15 years as a software tester and now a teacher of social media and email marketing. You’d think I’d be swimming in mobile technology – but I’m anything but! And I Love It!  

As a businessperson I do think it’s important to be available to all possible inputs out there – phone, text, email, social media (OK, perhaps not FAX).  I also enjoy LPs, Cassettes, CDs – yep!  But when it comes to mobile, I feel my unplugged life makes me a calmer person.  It makes me a less-distracted one – I’m becoming a better and better driver because my attention is improving rather than being scattered.  And, I think it’s even an advantage in business as when I’m talking to someone, they have my full attention – I am not about to be interrupted during our talk.  I never take a call, or interrupt something for something buzzing or ringing in my pocket or on the restaurant/café table (please don’t!, it’s a tech turd, actually!).

Yes, I can’t always be reached by people who I love. Yes, I miss out sometimes on last minute invitations or impromptu gatherings.  Yes, I’d love an app to do this or that.  But no app is going to plant garlic cloves. No app is going to stir a pot of chili.  No app is going to replace a hug – in fact, my sense is that apps increase the distance between us – taking our time with community and friends and focusing our attention elsewhere.  

Without mobile technology my life feels richer than it ever has. If you’ve never done a tech-fast before – give it a try. There are many great articles out there about how one works and their benefit. Who knows, maybe you’ll join me someday (unless you’re already there) and give up your cell, altogether.  You can do it.  You might even like it!

With gratitude,

Albert Kaufman

PS – see other writing I have done on this topic: Why I originally gave up my cellphone, and The Cellphone game 🙂

This just in from the NYT on 8.26.12 – get rid of the tension

9.26.25 NYT Stop Googling, Let’s Talk.

Interesting Cell Phone Game

Everyone puts their cell phones in the middle of the table. Whoever cracks first by touching their phone, pays for the entire meal.

The purpose of the game was to get everyone off their phones, away from twitter, facebook, texting, etc and to encourage conversations. In other words, help cure the “Anti-Social Social Media Craziness.”

Rules:

1) The game starts after everyone sits down.

2) Everybody places their phone in the middle of the table.

3) The first person to touch their phone loses the game.

4) Loser of the game pays the bill for everyone’s meal.

5) If the bill comes before anyone has touched their phone, everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

We had a blast. Conversation rocked. Everyone loved it.

Are You Game? Are you willing to turn the tide of anti-social behavior? What do you think?!?

(Thanks, Felix Roth, for the find on FB)

PS – here’s a great article on how nice it is to be at a concert without cellphones. Please join by not using your cell at a show.

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