I was sitting in a room with 100’s of people.
We were there for a panel discussion on digital citizenship.
The panelists brought up the increasing lack of empathy.
They brought up how technology is changing our life.
Some talked about how building things in an artificial digital world was just as impressive as building things in real life.
People cheered when it was announced that the hashtag was trending #2 on twitter.
The panelists continued…
I looked around the room and counted.
1,2,3,4…..35….45….I took a peak at what 50 random people in the room were doing.
Only five were looking up. 45 were looking at a device or typing.
At one point when a speaker paused to think, I thought I could hear the rain on the roof.
It was the sound of fingers on keyboards.
As the panelists talked about how technology can connect us, I am wondering if this is what they meant.
That dopamine rush that people get every time they tweet out something they are doing or hearing so that other people not present can feel as though they connected with those who are there, is resulting in an odd spirit in the room for many of the conferences I attend.
As someone who is a somewhat regular presenter, I know that I lose my spirit when I am looking at the tops of heads instead of into the eyes and hearts of those I am trying to connect with. My presentations becomes a sharing of facts to be tweeted, instead of a personal journey for each of the audience members.
I do not have hard data to back up the importance of being present in the moment rather than focused on sharing it with outsiders….but, each session that I have led in which I have invited participants to just sit back, relax, and not worry about tweeting and taking notes seems to always result in more questions from the audience and more comments to me as people exit.
Jon Muth wrote a book for children that I often read to my kids entitled The Three Questions. It is based on the Leo Tolstoy story of the same name. The book ends with the following lines:
“Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. This is why we are here.”