Are Smart Phones Really Smart?

I have a contract with my children regarding the use of their electronic devices. One of the things in our contract says that we will maintain transparency. I have the right (and responsibility) to look at their activity online. To be fair, they have the same right with my devices; true transparency is a two way street.

I tell you this because I have been following through, reading some of their texting and group chat chains, and I don’t want you to get mad at me. As an aside, many businesses have complete access to your activity on their networks and devices. As I was reading their chats a couple of things emerged that may have confirmed some observations I have been making.

Young people coming into the workforce do not know how, or prefer not, to communicate efficiently. Let me explain. At least in the USA, school aged people have found an affinity to the smart phone. They can use them during class time to communicate without disrupting those around them. This is a great capability of texting or chat, the fact that you can maintain a silent conversation, even with multiple people. The problem is that it performs at the speed of…well, don’t use the word speed.

Another thing I saw constantly was miscommunication. If you don’t reply to a message from someone within a few minutes, you get more texts asking if your mad or something. So, in order to not communicate something that isn’t true you have to be vigilant to new messages, and respond quickly.

What’s interesting is that message users get to a point where communication over their electronic devices is preferred over talking to the person right beside them. A problem that can be solved in a two minute conversation takes many more minutes to complete using messaging technology.

I work more and more with people having grown up with these devices and find that they are unable to keep up in a fast paced IT department when it comes to communication. That is not to say that messaging does not play a big part in communication in IT. I am saying that it is not always my first choice, nor do I spend a lot of time dealing with a text that may come to me.

In my opinion, smart devices haven’t made is better at communicating. They don’t enhance our abilities or make us any smarter, if we use them in an in-efficient method. We have a lot of great tools available to us now that allow us to work smarter, in remote locations, with less disruption to those around us. I believe we can find ways to use them that are the most efficient for the current scenario.