On my way to the office this morning, I heard a story on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” about how celebrities are starting to require party guests to leave their phones in a basket at the door upon arrival. When folks like musical artist Darius Rucker – whom Mike Golic referenced – have a party, it’s probably much bigger than what Kathy and I might host in our home. With size can come unknown folks who may have an agenda beyond getting to hang out with a bunch of really cool people. Don’t see the problem? Just look at your Twitter feed. The concern is one of privacy.
I love the idea for a totally different reason. As technology increasingly permeates our individual cultures, it’s easy to lose live, personal connections. How many times has a conversation been interrupted by incessant chirps of inbound tweets, new Facebook comments and text messages, whether from your own phone or theirs?
“But I’m on-call, and if I miss something, it could be disastrous.”
“What if our kid needs us?”
“I’ll be behind the curve at coffee tomorrow if I miss the latest football scores.”
The fact is, anyone dealing with matters of life and death – and a number of us actually do – should have back-up people and technologies to ensure connectivity during a breaking event. The do-not-disturb function available on most smartphones will allow otherwise blocked calls to pass through if the same number tries multiple times in a short period of time. Some of us still have home phones, and if it seems that a call is moving round-robin through different devices, our availability can quickly be changed.
Success in business and society continues to be rooted in the personal relationships that we create, establish and enhance. Smartphones are only one tool in a broad and deep chest of communications resources.
Whether for privacy or for real transparency, maybe putting the phone in the basket – at least for a meal or a time of meaningful face-to-face interaction – is a good idea.