Last weekend, we went to a Dave Matthews Band concert. After chatting with my husband in the car (ok, reading on my iPhone), we headed to the venue, discovering a long line of people waiting to get in.
I did what I always do when I’m bored. I pulled out my phone to check email and Twitter.
“Do you have to do that right now?” he asked. “Is it that important?”
I was stunned.
David never questions my connecting, never challenges how much time I spend online. So this really threw me.
Then I did what I always do when I don’t know what to say. I got quiet and pouted. (Ok, I know that’s rather childish, but my excuse is that waiting always gives me time to think about my anger, frustration, and response.)
Think about it, I did. All through the concert, falling asleep later, and the next day. I wanted to understand the tension.
For me, checking tweets was simply a way to pass the time. I was bored standing in line. For David, though, it was a disconnect, a separation. Even if we had nothing to say to one another, he felt I should have been in the moment.
The recent New York Times article about kids being “wired for distraction” was met from my community with much –is defensive anger too strong a statement? And I understand. We know social media will help us learn and connect in valuable, essential ways. But I also wonder about the other side of that–for our kids and for myself.
Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has a great book out: Focus. He says it’s “about finding simplicity in this Age of Distraction.” I don’t believe I am distracted; my online life is quite intentional. But my goal for the next few months will be to find a balance–or at least make sure I am aware of my actions.
Because I know I’ll do this:
For humans, this desire to search is not just about fulfilling our physical needs. Panksepp says that humans can get just as excited about abstract rewards as tangible ones. He says that when we get thrilled about the world of ideas, about making intellectual connections, about divining meaning, it is the seeking circuits that are firing.
But I don’t want to be like this:
The problem, of course, is that constantly perusing your phone is freaking rude â€” a clear signal that your reception is more important than anything going on in the here and now.
image: By ozjimbob
Susan Carter Morgan
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