Last week I ranted about unwanted LinkedIn invitations. I had a few interesting conversations with readers. So now I turn my sights on the Apple Watch, which has been around for nearly two years.
I know quite a few people that wear the Apple Watch. Which for whatever reason does not display the time when it is on your wrist. But that’s not really my point. I know the Apple Watch interruption has happened to virtually everyone reading this post.
Reviews of the Apple Watch have been a bit mixed, but more positive than negative. And it’s two years ‘new’, and it’s bound to get better – right? Except one thing does not get better. Stopping a real life, real time, in person conversation dead in its tracks.
Don’t know what I mean? Let’s say you are in a meeting, at a coffee, or lunch or dinner. You are having a nice conversation (hypothetically speaking) and all of the sudden the person you are meeting with sees his/her Apple Watch light up with a message and immediately they are distracted and look at the message. Conversation flow is broken. But something more important has happened – you’ve been disrespected.
The next time you go out to a restaurant take a look around the restaurant and make note of how many people are out with one or more others and are looking at their phones. In fact it’s not rare at all to see couples both looking at their phones. And apparently it’s just fine.
But it’s not fine. It’s rude. I know because I do it too sometimes. I try hard not to but once someone else does it, the path is clear and what the heck if you don’t do it yourself you’re just sitting there waiting for the other person to finish with whatever it is they were doing that is evidently more important than being with and talking with you. It’s not that different from when people meet each other in a public place and they throw their phone on the table ‘just in case.’ It’s the default option and not a special case. So the default option is – a message from someone or something else is more important than our meeting.
Considering the iPhone and smartphones are relatively recent technologies whose impact on human behavior is ever-changing, people are still figuring out how to make the technology work for them. The constant checking of social media – pick your platforms, is affecting people’s lives both positively and negatively. Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal has a recent short video that hits some great points – ‘The night they locked up all the Smartphones”
The Apple Watch just takes interruptive technology to another level. I acknowledge that there are circumstances in which having messages (SMS, emails, social etc.) flash on your phone when your hands are full or you are talking on the phone (when you are by yourself), are useful and dare I offer – handy.
Since I do not own an Apple Watch I am not sure if there’s a feature there that enables the user to turn off the flashing notifications on demand. If there is, few people are using that feature.
I like technology – gadgets and otherwise. But I like people even more. And when a technology stands in the way of an interpersonal interaction it’s no longer serving people it’s enslaving them.