When you purchased your smartphone, did you promise yourself that you wouldn’t let it consume your personal and professional life? How well is that working out for you?
According to a study by Lookout, a mobile security company, 58 percent of U.S. smartphone owners check their phone at least once every hour, and 54 percent of study respondents said they check their phones while lying in bed before they go to sleep, or in the middle of the night. With a Pew Internet Project study showing that smartphone purchases increased from 36 percent from May 2011 to March 2012, this trend is unlikely to decrease.
The smartphone has so many functions ranging from texts, email, Internet, and video streaming, that it is becoming the primary tool to build business relationships. But, is this necessarily a good thing?
In today’s fast paced business world, most reporters, clients, or customers claim they don’t have the time for the old fashioned face-to-face or phone discussions, and this is a shame. The use of smartphones in the work world has led to the decline of the quality of communication and the ability to read non-verbal cues. The Lookout study also revealed that smartphones have negatively impacted users’ personal lives as well. Many respondents admitted they check their phones while sharing a meal with others, 24 percent engage in risky behavior such as checking their phones while driving, and 10 percent said they checked their phones while participating in religious services.
As somebody who has worked in the sales and public relations sectors for nearly a decade, I understand the value of building personal relationships. Take, for example, a recent conversation I had with a reporter at a telecommunications publication, with whom I had not spoken in nearly five years. In speaking with him over the phone, after just fifteen seconds into the conversation, he remembered that I was a quadruplet, a story he wrote on behalf of my former client, and also recalled the multiple discussions we had over those two years.
The Lookout study has clearly shown the smartphone it is not healthy for our personal lives, and it is ineffective when conducting business. The hope is that people will learn from these observations and at least occasionally revert back to traditional communication methods to improve the quality of our lives. Do you agree?
*Image from ShinyShiny.tv