I love my phone. It goes most places with me, I use it for all kinds of great stuff and it has gotten me out of more jams than I care to count. It is definitely a “smart” phone. But what frustrates me more than anything is how smart phones make people stupid. Here’s what I mean.
I recently drove downtown and was truly shocked by how many people I passed on the road who were clearly texting. In that kind of traffic I couldn’t believe more people weren’t crashing into each other! I guess their distraction distracted them in different directions. If you were in an accident, how do you justify to yourself you had to text that note right then? Or worse, if you killed someone, how would you justify it then?
Less dramatic but more frequent, I’m always shocked at the people who are sitting in a meeting and their phone goes off. Really? You went to a meeting and in theory, prepared. You checked your hair and outfit as you left the house, you brought your stuff with you, locked your car and didn’t think to turn off your phone? How is this someone else’s responsibility to remind you? Are you 12?
Finally, and the least big deal are those signatures that say, “typos brought to you by the iPhone”. Really? You are trusting your professional brand to a device that can’t spell? And, by the way, the iPhone has a spell check that works well. If you turn it on and READ your messages before they go out, you don’t have a problem. And then you can have a professional signature that helps promote your brand instead of Apple’s.
In my presentation about Social Media and HR I have a quote from Socrates where he was lamenting the invention of the pencil. He felt it would make us lazy as we didn’t have to memorize information anymore. While I rarely see technological advances as a bad thing, I do expect people to be smart about how they use them. Just as we now only memorize information that is truly critical to our lives, we can be smart about our smart phones.