Growing up, we had two rules around the dinner table: 1. you must at least try everything on your plate and 2. you had to share one story about the favorite part of your day.
In a family of six, my parents had their hands full with sporting events, friends and homework, therefore making spending time around the dinner table no easy task. However, it was rare that there was a night that went by that we didn’t eat as a family, even if that meant eating in shifts from time to time.
We didn’t have smart phones, personal laptops, iPads and email to interrupt our family time. To say the landscape has changed is an understatement. However, dinner at the Dennihy house hasn’t changed one bit. Sure, the phones are kept in sperate rooms (as opposed to pulling the wall phone off the hook as my Dad seemed to do nightly to keep people from interrupting), but creating genuine personal time is much more of a conscious effort.
A dear friend of mine and I have had endless conversations around technology in our lives over the years, and as we both work in the digital marketing space, avoiding it is impossible. She has been urging me to watch the Ted talk “Connected, but Alone” for just as many years. I finally sat down to watch the talk and I cannot say I was surprised by my love for it.
As we watch technology evolve, it makes our lives so much more simple on so many levels. Connections are now a click, a tweet or a post away. We can have simultaneous conversations with 10 people over a group text all while sending an email and capturing a photo for Instagram. Facebook is in talks to release a PHONE for crying out loud. In short, technology is incredible.
Then why is communicating itself harder than ever before?
Because communication is more than a string of words. Communication leads to relationships, which lead to the betterment of ourselves, which is no surprise, hard work.
In Sherry’s words, “we expect more from technology and less from each other.”
If we want to become more connected, we have to expect more from each other and let technology guide us in getting there – not serve as the sole route.
Is texting a friend easier than spending thirty minutes on the phone each week? Sure is. Do I expect to remain friends without decline over the next decade by sending text messages? Better not put all of my marbles in that bucket.
Now get to work, I owe some people some phone calls / dinner dates / afternoon runs.