GITOMER: The phone is smart.
How smart is the user?
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 7:00 AM
Have you noticed the shift in human focus and concentration?
In the lobby of the Public Chicago hotel, there are about 50 people sitting and milling around, engaged in some form of interaction – primarily WITH THEMSELVES.
Oh, there are others with them, but these people are head down on their phones. I’m sure you have both seen them and been one of them.
Maybe you’re even reading this on your mobile device right now!
Guidelines for phone use have significantly changed because of the technology that’s available. Five years ago (before the launch of the game-changing iPhone), all you could do on a phone was send and receive calls – and painfully text.
Cellular phones are smart these days. Most of the time, they’re smarter than their user. They are as much “app” driven, as they are talk and text. If you include email and the Internet in general, your calendar, Facebook and other social media apps, Google and other search engines, news, Instagram and other photo apps, your camera, music, movies, “Angry Birds” and other games, Foursquare, PayPal and of course the ubiquitous Amazon, you at once realize your phone or tablet has become your dominant communication device – and it’s only an infant in its evolution.
Voice recognition is the next breakthrough.
Most people are not masters of their own phone. They use programs they need and rarely explore new ones, unless recommended by a friend.
If you’re seeking mastery of your device, here are the fundamental how-tos:
• How to use it mechanically. (Not just on and off.) Your phone holds technological mysteries and magic that can make your hours pay higher dividends once you master them.
• How to use it mannerly. The “when” and “how loud” are vital to your perceived image. See some more rules and guidelines below.
• How to use it to enhance communication. Texting is the new black. Data transmission now exceeds voice transmission – by a lot. Emailing a customer? How do they perceive you when they read it? Is it “C U L8r” or “See you later”? Is it “LMK” or “let me know”? You tell me. I don’t abbreviate. My mother would have never approved.
• How to use it to master social media. Tweet value messages on the go. Facebook is inevitable, and now that Instagram is linked, you’ll need an hour a day to post and keep current.
• How to use it to allocate your time. Use your stopwatch feature to measure the total amount of time you spend on your phone. You can easily hit start-stop-memory each time you use it. Your total at the end of the day will shock you – but not as much as multiplying the total by 365.
Here are the rules, guidelines and options to understand the proper time and place for use:
• When you’re alone and no one is around. The world is your oyster. Be aware of time. If left to your own device, minutes become hours.
• When you’re by yourself, but others are within hearing distance. Speak at half-volume, and keep it brief.
• In an informal group. Ask permission first. Use your judgment as to what to ignore. Be respectful of the time and attention paid to the people you’re with.
• In a business meeting. Never. Just never.
• In a one-on-one sales meeting. Beyond never. Rude.
The smartphone is here to stay – it’s cheap to use and application options are expanding every day. Your challenge is to harness it, master it and bank it.
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