With the much anticipated introduction of the newest iPhone last week, there’s been a lot of reflection on how our lives have changed in the 10 years since Apple introduced the first iPhone. I still recall the moment I realized how much my life would change; I was sitting in a carpool line waiting for my child to emerge from school, and realized I could check my email on the fly. Transformational.
What I didn’t realize, and few could predict, were the subtle ways that our phones would forever change our communication. Yes, they allow us to be reachable whenever, wherever. “How did we function before smartphones?” we often ask ourselves. The New York Times created a snappy reminder of all that our phones have made redundant; from alarm clocks and compasses, to maps and taxis; it demonstrates the efficiencies our phones can provide and shows what has been lost.
But what about the constant distraction? Our ability to focus? To be present in a conversation? No one predicted the compulsive need we would develop to check in. Or the dopamine rush people would get when they receive a text; the instant gratification of knowing your friends “like” your picture. How can we recognize the ten year anniversary of the iPhone and enjoy all of the amazing technological advances and lifestyle improvements it offers, without losing our human connection?
What if we celebrate the tenth anniversary with a renewed commitment to connect with people? Let’s harken back to a decade ago when our phones were simply used for calling and try valiantly to be present in the moment and listen actively.
We all feel the lure of the phone and the urge to multi-task. Let’s embrace our smartphones and all that is good about them, and let’s also cherish our human connections. And commit to being present in the moment. It will make us all better communicators.