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I’m a gadget guy, and I love my smartphone.  In fact, going anywhere without the iPhone tethered to me in some ways makes me almost feel naked. But, I’ve noticed a trend that I find appalling as the smartphone continues to rise in prominence.  Next time your out to a movie or sitting in a restaurant take a quick peak around.  Chances are you will see at least one or two people paying more attention to a phone or other gadget than to the person (or people) they are with.

What is their damage?

I understand that we live in an ultra-connected society. Between text messaging, instant messaging, e-mail, and social networking we are more interconnected to one another’s lives than we have been at any point in history.  At least when we’re not together.

We need to wake up.  We need to remember that the people we choose to spend time with in real space are, in almost every instance, more important than those virtual connections.  We need to rediscover to joy of the conversation over dinner, the intimacy that comes with being able to see a person’s eyes when you talk.

A conversation that does not include emoticons and webspeak.

So, I call on everyone to put down the phone when you’re with someone.  If it buzzes that you got a text, let it go until later.  If it blips that someone you follow just Tweeted, catch up on their stream later.  Don’t allow yourself to continue to be a slave to to beeps and buzzes of a gadget when a real flesh and blood person is sitting across from you.

We all love to receive attention, and that is part of the reason we have to see what the latest text or IM says.  But, the here and now of our physical reality is so much more inviting if you put down the digital leash we have all fastened around our necks.

Like Springsteen says: “I just want someone to talk to, and a little of that human touch.”

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