Habits to dump in how we handle our technology devices

Monday April 29 2013




There is this desire to be perpetually “connected”, and so, many people carry their mobile phones and tablets everywhere they go.

The emerging menace is that we are slowly choosing these digital connections over real interactions.

In the minds of many, apologising for “taking this call” and then speaking into it for the next 10 minutes, or “just responding to this urgent message” and then going on and on typing away, is fairly okay. No, it is not.

And then there are people who pull out tablets at cafés to show just how “busy” or “important” they are. The more expensive the tablet, the more it will be displayed.

Friends, there is a whole range of technology habits we must dump. We assume they are fine, yet deep inside, we know they are not. Here are examples of behaviour that needs to go out of the window.

Social networking in meetings

A CEO pulled out his expensive phone and went on to type a musing on social media in the middle of a meeting. The reflection was not bad, but the timing was.

When did dealing with your social network become acceptable during a meeting? It suggests that some of us would rather be seated across Facebook or Twitter than people.

Social networking should be done on your own time, not other people’s.

Phone on the table

Many people are guilty of placing their mobile phones on the restaurant table. It is like parking your expensive car right at the door of the eatery so that you can be seen alighting from it.

The habit is distracting. It is a subtle way of showing off. It also sends the message that if the phone rings, it gets priority.

Mobile phones should stay in your pocket or in your handbag or wherever you put them, just not the table. You do not see the Mulika Mwizi type of phones gracing hotel tables, do you?

Texting all the time

This includes messaging using chat clients. It is becoming too much. There is text time and there is time to deal with real world stuff.

It is agonising to sit with someone who is constantly responding to messages when you are supposed to be interacting.

It suggests that there is something more important and urgent going on in the other person’s life. Save texting for after, not during.

Loud conversations in public

If you really must answer the phone in public, the least you can do is to walk away, stand in a quiet corner and take care of your business there. Don’t do it on the table or in a matatu where everyone can hear about the deal you are negotiating a deal. That is bragging.

Phones with no headphones

Playing music or watching a video from your mobile device without headphones is more common among the younger generation.

They finally get a phone that can play media and decide to share the good news with the rest of the world. It is plain wrong.

In London, you would get what they call an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO).

It is indeed a nuisance. If you must do it, as people say, “get a room”.

Ring tones

A loud ring-tone can be annoying. A most irritating one is that of a crying baby. Never has anything more annoying been invented as this.

If that is your ring-tone, please change it.

Vibrating phones

Yes, its good manners to have a phone on silent during a meeting or personal time with your loved ones, but it is still annoying if it is vibrating in your pocket so vigorously that people who are nearby can feel it.

The guys who invented the device that makes your phone vibrate figured it was not enough, so they amplified it and now it is louder on some phones than soft ring-tones.

If you are going to put your phone on vibrate, then at least make sure it does not rattle the cups or bottles on the table and roll off it.