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My Smartphone & Social Media Status: It’s Complicated

My Smartphone & Social Media Status: It’s Complicated

As many of you know I am now actively posting on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, (I have a Snapchat account, but it’s just too much for me). The deeper I get involved the more complex my relationship with my smartphone and social media becomes. It can be engaging and distracting at the same time. It provides conversations that would otherwise be out of my grasp as I miss conversations within arms reach.

Social media is amazing. The speed with which it connects the world is immeasurable, remarkable, and unfathomable.

Social media can be ridiculous. The amount of time people spend checking social media posts is astounding. In fact, a Baylor University study found that women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their phones and men spend nearly eight—with a significant portion dedicated to social media and messaging. That’s A LOT of time!

Social media can be life saving. It can alert you to serious problems that you might otherwise not know about—from wildfires to a nearby shooting.

Social media can be emotionally and etiquettely stunting. People rarely have face to face, UNINTERRUPTED conversation anymore. Social media/smartphones are stunting our ability to learn how to interact with each other in a concentrated, focused manner.

Hence my dilemma. I wish we could put the “smart phone” back in the proverbial bottle and establish SME (Smartphone Etiquette) before we let the “genie” out of the bottle again.

Here are some rules of SME I’d like to see put in place:

DON’T’s
1. No phones during meals with another person.
2. No phones when having a serious conversation with someone else.
3. No phones when having rejuvenating personal quiet time… it defeats the purpose.
4. No phones when crossing the street!!! Yes this is a pet peeve. When people cross the street soooooooo slowwwwwwlllly because they are checking their phones—not to mention the danger of being unaware of the traffic around them.
5. No phone-checking in movies, church, class, studying, or middle of the night.

DO’s
1. Do take your phone and make sure the ringer is on when you go to the grocery store. I might call and need something…. BOBBY FIELD!
2. Do check your phone every 20 minutes if you’re at work. We may need to communicate about something.
3. Do use social media to stay in touch, validate, and contribute positively to conversations.
4. Do use your smartphone to stay organized and on time. Set alerts and alarms that help you get the most out of each day.
5. Do use your smartphone and social media to connect with friends and family whom you might otherwise only speak to once every few years.

The most important SME LAW:

*** No checking or using phones in cars. It’s one thing to use your phone for navigation or music but when someone is caught actively scrolling or texting it should be a hefty fine… say to the tune of $5K … make it 10K!

Seriously, how can we encourage each other to look up and literally “look around and smell the roses?” How can we stop the unnecessary accidents and deaths caused by a text message? How do we encourage uninterrupted reading, listening, observing and communicating? The scary part for me is the answer… “I don’t know!”

I’d love for you to share your thoughts and solutions—just not while you’re driving 😉

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[…] are now browsing on their smartphones twice as much as they were just 24 months ago. And as mentioned in a previous Musing, a Baylor University study found that women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on […]

Brittany Mullenary
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Brittany Mullenary

Please add live theater to #5 under Don’ts. Also under #5 it should say that phones should be silenced not just don’t look at them. As a house manager and technician in live theater I have seen more cell phone screens and heard more phones ring during performances. Also, if your phone does ring in a place where it should have been silenced, don’t announce it like the woman in the row behind me at The Glass Menagerie did. Just turn it off.

Paul Franco
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I hate being the only person at the concert watching the show instead of taping it. Or maybe that’s because I’m a photographer and I’m not being paid to shoot it. ;o)