Posts Tagged ‘conversation sparks’

The paradox of smartphones and sparking conversations

Ever noticed how we have phones to talk, but sometimes they are the very thing that keep us from sparking conversations in real life?

Early this year, I kicked off with publicly sharing my simple 2016 resolution: Less social media. More socializing. I’m writing now to hold myself accountable and share a fun project to help you turn small talk into bigger conversations!

But first, a smartphone story …

A couple weeks ago I glanced down at my phone to see purple ooze beneath the screen. The LED went out, and I was phoneless for nearly a week. (Oh the horror!) While I was fairly calm about it, the inconvenience was eye-opening and a bit embarrassing, showing me how terribly dependent I am on that piece of plastic and glass. In some ways I felt liberated, but also felt I’d lost a piece of my hand … indeed, I did lose my “digits!”

You mean, I actually to use my brain or print paper to figure out directions on the road? I missed a meeting because I didn’t have my calendar pop-up, couldn’t take pictures of my kids with Santa at the family Christmas party, and had no way of telling the time since I don’t wear a watch. (Talk about #firstworldproblems!) For better or worse, I sidestepped 57 text messages that were waiting when my phone was fixed.

The point? As this Fortune article says, “heavy reliance on our gadgets seems to make us vulnerable” and I realized how addicted I was, withdrawal pangs included. In this fabulous interview with Simon Sinek, he says smartphone updates can become a dopamine-producing addiction. Other addictive habits (smoking, gambling, etc.) have age-restrictions, but an addiction to social media is still socially acceptable, possibly even encouraged. The unsavory results? A generation that struggles to focus longer than a goldfish, hold meaningful conversations, and navigate the ups and downs of real relationships.

Does any of that strike you? It does me!

Ok, so back to my resolution: Did I spend less time on social media and more time socializing in 2016 than I did the year before? Yes! I have room to improve, but I met new clients and expanded my professional connections. I hiked with new friends, biked with a triathlon group, ran mountains with go-getter mamas, cruised in Alaska with my mom, sister, and husband, and went on not one … but TWO trips with my best girl friend. Most important, I enjoyed many in-the-present moments with my little family.

conversation sparksI also “played” with friends, working together on a communication project that lives at the intersection of smartphones and socializing. Two talented friends (Hey, Adam … hi, Julie!) from my communication graduate program and I have created several videos with tips, tricks, and funny insights about talking in real life, which we’re calling “Conversation Sparks.” They’re now live on our shiny new Youtube channel. We’re exploring ways you (and we) can turn small talk into bigger conversations:

See anything that helps you spark conversations in that first video?

Please let me know … and a very happy new year to you! Let’s make 2017 our best yet.