June 09, 2021

When is it Okay to use your SmartPhone?

If you are a Millennial, I bet you had front row seats to a really interesting turning point in the world’s relationship to technology. Take yourself back to an innocent time in the mid 2000s. You probably went out to dinner with a friend who had just gotten text messaging on their cell phone. Your friend then proceeded to text their crush/bestie for the whole dinner, pretty much ignoring you. When it happened to me, I remember thinking that surely etiquette would evolve to squash this. Etiquette didn’t rise to the occasion sadly, and neither did I. Instead of setting boundaries, I uh… just gave up and joined in. 

Looking back on this time, it was a magically fleeting window where people keenly felt bad seeing their friends prefer digital conversations to real life company. As teenagers witnessing the birth of the texting era, we understood the choice being made first hand. This choice of digital over physical company has since been refined into rocket fuel for addictive social media companies, but these didn’t exist yet. The like button wasn’t even patented! The attention economy was just a tiny little confused baby lion, indistinguishable from a kitten.