Small Talk in 140 Characters

by Jason Kotecki on · 10 comments

iphones-unconnected

Sometimes I long for the days when an Etch-a-Sketch was the most technologically advanced gadget I owned.

Yes, I love my shiny iPhone and all the wonderful things it lets me do.

But I hate when a family is out to eat and I see them all face down in their smartphones. I hate it because it reminds me of how the pull to check email or send a tweet or scan status updates on Facebook pulls ME away from actually being present in my real life. It often distracts me on my dates with my daughter. And it sucks up the mental space that could have been used to pray or think or — gasp! — just BE.

Oh, the internet and smartphones and wi-fi has gotten us more connected than ever. But are we making any connections?

Everything seems so surface level these days; our conversations have deteriorated into small talk boiled down to 140 characters or less. It's boring, meaningless, and a tragic waste of our precious time.  Perhaps the reason we are the loneliest, most depressed, most drug addicted society that has ever lived is because we are lacking real connections.

We deserve better. Our family and our friends deserve better from us.

If you agree, here's a crazy idea: Next time you're with someone, put down the phone. Slow down. Shut your pie hole.

Instead, look. Hear. Be. Practice being present once in awhile.

Open your heart, offer your attention, and make a real human connection.

A small thing, perhaps.

But it's a Small Rebellion of epic proportions.


by Jason Kotecki

Jason Kotecki is an artist, author, and professional speaker. Jason and his wife Kim (a former kindergarten teacher) make it their mission in life to fight Adultitis and help people use strategies from childhood to design lives with less stress and more fun. Stop by www.KimandJason.com for more tips for escaping adulthood.
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim April 13, 2013 at 11:23 am

Hi Jason and Lance:

Yep, I agree with you completely. I think we humans are talking more…but are we really saying anything? I also heard something the other day about how young people don’t know how to hold a conversation and have difficulty connecting with other people IRL. This surprises me, yet it doesn’t. I’m not a parent, but I believe parents have a big responsibility to be a good example for their kids and perhaps set some boundaries.

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Jason of Kim & Jason April 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Yep, it always starts with the family, Tim. Pretty much all of our societal problems can be traced back to that, I’m afraid!
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Audra Krell April 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Great post and I love the opening line, it made me laugh out loud. When we are at a restaurant, phones aren’t allowed out at the beginning of the meal, but after we’ve eaten, out they come. Someday we’ll make it a whole meal without them! : ) In some ways my teen boys are interacting more than ever before, but I do see how some kids struggle with face to face good old fashioned communication.
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Jason of Kim & Jason April 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Tiny steps, Audra! Glad to hear I inspired a bit of laughter 🙂
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Cornel April 16, 2013 at 7:15 am

I fully agree that the price paid to ‘stay in-touch’ via technology and social media is to actually be less and less connected to others.

We need such wake-up calls to take a step back and value the good old ways to communicate with people…
Cornel
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jennifer smirf April 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

I agree with you.. technology is a great help to us and living without it is hard but it is dragging us away to what is really important our family & friends and the quality time with them.

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Yum Yucky April 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

I am an offender of this during dinner outings. Not the worst, but it bugs me and I need to do better. The phone need s to be out in case the kids, call, but I need to put it face down so the flashing light, signaling a new email, is not seen.
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Elle April 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I have been guilty of this too! I have been worried about missing important calls that I leave my phone on – but I end up getting distracted with text messages and emails.

I did find a function on my cell phone that allows you to put your phone on mute. However you can set “favourite” numbers. Even though your phone is on mute, calls from these numbers will still ring as normal. You might find it useful (I have an iPhone and the function is called “do not disturb”).
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Jason of Kim & Jason April 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Yes, being able to set our phones to minimize how much they interrupt us is HUGE. It’s hard enough keeping our phones at bay without having to also deal with them buzzing and flashing on a table trying to get our attention for unimportant tweets and texts.
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Elle April 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Hi Jason,

I agree with you. Things like Facebook are so helpful for us to keep in touch with family and friends who are far away.

However, I think people are a little too attached to it. I personally don’t think it is necessary to send out a tweet about what you’re eating when you’re enjoying dinner with friends.

Face-to-face is the most genuine interaction and it seems that we are practicing it less and less often.

Many of us have busy schedules, so it’s sad to see that when people do find the time to meet up in person, that they are more connected to their phones than the other person.
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