Technology runs ahead of research but we are also catching up on some important lessons. Sherry Turkle- like always- is one of our thought leaders:
Rule of Three: Turkle reveals the social phenomenon of social gatherings. Whether at dinner with 5 people or in a meeting, the “rule of three” applies. If three or more are paying attention- that is, their heads are up and their eyes are focused on the one who is talking- then it’s acceptable to access your phone. Notice the cost however:
The effect is what you would expect: Conversation is kept relatively light, on topics where people feel they can drop in and out.
Cell Location: This is an easy point of evaluation, with extraordinary research emerging:
Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted. They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.
Assault on Empathy: Turkle goes on to explain how the invasive nature of technology- with all the good that it brings- is draining our ability to be empathetic. We shy away from deep dialogue. We avoid spontaneity and open-ended conversation. Why? Because the “elsewhere” is always present.
You can find the full article here.