From ‘off’ to ‘silent’ to..?

Read Victoria’s comment on the feelings and expectations that go on for all of us around the influence of technology in our relationships.

She absolutely nails it.

Here are some snippets:

Maybe I am peculiarly selfish – but honestly I don’t want to know what people are doing on their phone/ipad/laptop unless I had an expectation that they were – or should be – doing something else, that involved me somehow.

And later:

I think we need some signals back. Maybe my children will be happy for the particular device they’re using to emit the signal but I need my signal to come from a human being, so I feel like there’s opportunity for negotiation and agreement rather than being presented with a fixed notice.

Vic’s comment reminds me of noticing some of this when I did my week long course at London Business School.

At the opening lecture the main professor asked ‘can you please ensure your blackberries and phones are switched to *silent* please’.

For me that was the first formal situation that acknowledged the shift in expectations and behaviour.

For this week it was going to be OK to be looking at devices, just as long as they didn’t disrupt others by making noise.

It feels like we are slipping down an interesting slope – easing from…

– Please switch your electronics stuff off (and be present in the room)


– Please switch your stuff to silent (but do what you need to do)

So what next?

What is the next step from here as the edges blur and our norms stretch?

Or will momentum swing back the other way, with growing consciousness of what these norms actually for our relationships, our productivity?

And, whatever happens, how will it make us feel?

One thought on “From ‘off’ to ‘silent’ to..?

  1. I’m just back (and slightly knackered!) from three days of running workshops in a large international organisation. And, as I kind of expect these days, some people were unself-consciously using laptops/mobiles during them.

    As the facilitator I felt this was perhaps part of the compromise I had to make to get such a large chunk of these people’s time so I remained pretty relaxed about it. Through the structure of the workshop it clear the times when participation was optional and when it was required. As a facilitator there’s a challenge to make what’s happening in the room more interesting/relevant than what’s “out there”.

    Perhaps the next step is to encourage and somehow harness these people’s connections to their network. Something to think about.

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