My Social Experiment

We recently passed another Labor Day Weekend.  It marked the end of the summer of 2015, and the beginning of a new school year for my kids.  My work life this summer has been more than a bit challenging over the past few months, with a lot of change occurring around me — new leadership, relationships changing, and the like. Part of the fallout of all the change is an increase in the number of distinct threads of activity thrust upon me and my leadership team, all requiring a certain level of effort to address.

For those that know me would say I am a devoted user of technology.  I have one of almost everything in computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices.  I also enjoy the use of social media, actively using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  I’m in a Social Media Advocacy group at work to support the company’s efforts to increase business impact of social media tools at the corporate level.  I really enjoy this stuff, and all that it brings to enhance our lives.

Yes, I am fully connected.  Sometimes to a fault.  I get feedback (most of the time justified) from my family about my use when I should be more present.  It has happened at work, and, for the record, I am not the only one.

I wondered what might happen if I took a full holiday from my iPhone?  Would I become anxious or upset, almost like a drug addict?  Would my work suffer because I wasn’t paying attention over a long weekend to those that chose to work?  What would I see if I paid a little more attention to what’s going on around me?

I decided to do it.  Friday night I turned off my iPhone, placed it in the bedside table and left it there until Tuesday morning.  The world did not end.  I didn’t break into a cold sweat.  Social media continued and didn’t really notice I was absent. The work emails were there and it really didn’t matter whether or not I responded before.  It was a nice weekend because I let myself see the world around me through my own eyes, not tainted in any way by what was going on.

The biggest thing I noticed was that I lived with my head up.  The iPhone, even when in my pocket, draws my head downward.  Downward to look at it, downward to even sense it’s presence on my person or in the car.  For three days, there was no downward force drawing me away from my world.  I saw my world more fully, whether it was to be present with my family, or just to enjoy watching people as I went about my business.

I’m still a huge fan of my iPhone, and will continue to be.  However, I will be less afraid going forward of turning it off when it doesn’t really need to be on, and enjoy seeing life for myself.  I am going to be asking myself the question more often – does the iPhone really need to be on right now?

At the end of all this, it’s really about the fact the smartphone has arguably destroyed the boundary between personal and professional life.  Maybe shutting these devices off a little more often will help me reclaim some of my own personal life.  We’ll see what happens.

Now this is what music is all about…

A few months ago I got into a new show, at least it was to me.  It’s called “Live From Daryl’s House” starring Daryl Hall and his band.  It started as an Internet show which features artists from diverse genres and generations and they get together and play each other’s music.  Also included are food preparation segments which provide a nice break between the music.  I am watching it on the Palladia network on cable now.

The thing I like about this show the most is the pure joy that happens in this room as the artists mesh to make old songs new again.  These artists seem truly happy doing this.  To me, that’s what music is all about!

For those who don’t know about this show, here’s a sample video.  Daryl and his band are playing with a band called The Dirty Heads, and they came up with an interesting rendition of the old Hall & Oates hit “Rich Girl”.  Enjoy!

Waste Management Open in Phoenix – Not Your Regular PGA Event

This PGA Tour event is one of the more popular events on tour each year.  And also the most unique, as evidenced by the following videos.  It’s great to see these players lightening up a bit and having some fun!

Padraig Harrington kicking a football

Caddy Races

Dancing

I hope this kind of thing continues at this event for years to come.  Maybe I can make it there some day.

Super Bowl Ad Faves 2013

I decided to keep a list during the Super Bowl of my favorite ads.  Here’s this year’s list.  I think the Montana Stain from Tide was my winner this year.

Enjoy!

Oreo

My wife is a soon-to-be ex-librarian, so I thought this was a good one.

Volkswagen

I guess this had some backlash.  Calm down, mon.  The dude is from Minnesota, after all.

Taco Bell

I have this vision that this is what goes on in the retirement communities during the winter.

Tide

The magic Montana stain was a brilliant and funny concept.

Cars.com

This one reminds me of the outpost.com ad of many years ago.

Here’s the cars.com commercial:

The ads are fun, aren’t they?

Technology Easing Our Family Crisis

Last week my father suffered a mild heart attack.  During the process of diagnosing the heart attack, a CT scan revealed a significant mass in his lung.  To make a long story short, this heart attack probably saved his life.

As we have been dealing with this crisis, we have had the need to communicate with our sister in Colorado as well as extended family members.  During this process it occurred to me how much our everyday mobile technology and social media has made that task so much easier.  Also, it has helped us cope with long waits by providing entertainment options (e.g. music, games and media) and access to the outside world.

In this photo you see what I am talking about.  My brothers and Mom are enjoying a game of Monopoly on an iPad, and my brother is using SMS on his iPhone to continuously communicate with our sister.

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Andy, Charley and Mom playing Monopoly on iPad

 

Social media has also been a huge help on a few levels.  First, posting updates on Facebook has allowed me to update my broader network on what’s happening with Dad.  It has also invoked a virtual prayer chain in support of my family during this crisis.  I was able to read to Dad many names of people sending well wishes.  I got the feeling he appreciated the thought.

Coping with this whole ordeal would have been much more difficult without these tools.  Thank God we have them!