Sunday, March 11, 2012

Constantly On Phones At SXSW

Walking around SXSW it is amazing how many people are sitting alone looking at their phones.  Then there are the people walking while looking at their phones.  And worst of all are those standing or sitting with other, while ignoring the live conversations around them to look at their phones.

Few people ever seem to talk on phones.  Fewer still seem to talk to those in the same room.

At a party I witnessed a group of four people (all seemed to be friends) sitting at table.  No conversation or eye contact.  They were heavily focused on their screens.

I walked by the large picture window of an upscale bar.... several people sitting at tables, staring at phones.  This was a bar with well dressed attractive people who were ignoring each other to look at electronic devices.

I wonder if we could start a movement at SXSW for just the thirty minutes from 12:00 - 12:30 PM on Monday where people would stop looking at screens and speak to other humans?  

Doubtful that it would catch on, but I will be the one person not using an app or sending a tweet at lunchtime on Monday.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer


Harwick Family said...

Thom, I have observed the same thing and wish it were not so. You and I are rougly the same age and the demographic at SXSW is not Us. As much as I wish all smart phones would be stowed in pockets between sessions, it just is not gonna happen with the Y's and Millenials. As Brian Solis would say, End of Business as Usual.

Thom Singer said...

It was interesting to see all the folks on phones and eyes deep on other screens.

My prediction is that in about three years some clever young Generation Y professional will write a book about "Choosing People" and it will become a best seller. He or she will speak at every conference on the topic as if they invented it. His or her peers will drink it all up and there will be a movement toward making connections with people. ;-)

Matt Fangman said...

I'm always bemused at phone zombies and they were out in full force at sxsw. Full disclosure, I'm guilty of it too. Not so much the walking while gazing at my phone, but the need to fill any moment of down time with the stimulation of my device.

I had a very similar thought that it would be nice if sxsw did some sort of workshop or session that facilitated one-on-one interaction. Call it a "tech-free zone" or something. I felt that same desire at TEDxAustin.

Wonderful experience, but not much opportunity for real depth in our interactions.