Maureen Dilger

Innovation Leader, Hallmark Cards, Inc.

This conversation is closed.

Could you honestly give up your smartphone for a week?

We know a life without smartphones.
But now that they're here, it's hard to remember the "old" days.
It's like trying to imagine a world without post-its.
iPads/tablets are great, but for me, not as swiss-army portable (yet)

What would happen if you had to give up your phone for a week?

Would you...
* Miss a ton of events/meetings/classes?
* Be more effective/attentive when with others?
* Use landlines more (eee, gasp)?
* Rely on social nets, email, face to face vs. texts?
* Go through app/photo/video withdrawals?
* Pick up staplers and mimic touchscreen moves?

What do you think the biggest a'has we'd have and try apply once we got our phones back (and stopped dancing for joy)?

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    Jun 29 2011: I know I can do it, because I don't have a smartphone, nor do I desire one. Getting notified each time I receive an e-mail sounds like a nightmare to me even though many iphone users around me use that as one of the main selling points. I find that smart phones also seem to reinforce the anti-social behaviour of checking your texts and replying to them in the middle of a face to face conversation and I don't want to be part of that.
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      Jun 29 2011: Agree 100%.I feel the same.
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      Jun 29 2011: I Agree 90%! I want a smartphone for the apps...
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      Jun 29 2011: I hear you!

      There will be a time in the (hopefully near) future when we get over this obsession with "connection", and realize that it can be the opposite - a disconnect - from the life that is real.

      Ok, I have an iPhone. But only because my wife keeps "upgrading" me. I don't use it much for anything except a place to put notes, writing, to do lists, ideas, etc. I rarely answer it when it rings and most of the time can't find it.

      Where are the artists on this subject/human condition? Where are the photos, paintings, books, poems about the state of distraction our society has slipped into? There will be a time when we tire of this and move on. But it really is pathetic to walk down the street and pass by so many people who are staring at their hand, absorbed, oblivious to the world around them!

      Maureen, I hope this answers your question!? There are some real positives to the "connected" technology. Smart innovation will take the lead and figure out how to advance it beyond where it is now so that we use it without losing so much else, I think...
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        Jun 29 2011: I don't have one. I do have an iPad.

        QUOTE: "There will be a time in the (hopefully near) future when we get over this obsession with "connection", and realize that it can be the opposite - a disconnect - from the life that is real."

        Hmmmm ... we're having this conversation, on line, with people we don't actually know (well, I am having this conversation with people I don't know. You may all be neighbours.)
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          Jun 30 2011: Thanks for letting me know to call you Thomas. I will say though, it is rather tempting to call you by the short form just to see you rock out.
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        Jun 30 2011: Jim - great perspective (and I couldn't help but laugh that your wife keeps "upgrading" you). I'm curious to know if your wife uses it like I do which is more like a multi-tasking swiss army knife vs. an entertainment zone.

        Tom - I have both an iPhone and iPad and have a silly rule that I'll only take one technology per meeting (I can't help but laugh by even typing that). The iPad rules during the work day; the iPhone wins on-the-go; while the laptop wins after the kids go to bed. What is wrong or right with this picture?
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          Jun 30 2011: QUOTE: What is wrong or right with this picture?

          What is right is you are very connected. What is wrong might be you do not have a stylish carryall for all your techno-gear.
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          Jun 30 2011: PS I prefer to be called Thomas.

          If you call me "Tom ... Jones" I may burst into 60s Welsh rock.
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      Jun 29 2011: Well put. It seems were at a point where we have this incredible technology, but we have not figured out any sensible boundaries for them.
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        Jun 29 2011: I think it's about balance. Our technology is an incredibly useful tool, and I agree with Jim that what we think is a wonderful connection, may at times be a disconnect. I don't own any mobile communications device...I'm living in the dark ages technologically I guess, and I like it! In fact, the only reason I have a computer, is because my daughter is an EE, IT, and supplies me with equipment and upgrades:>) I just got back from my son's wedding, and witnessed EVERYBODY tied to the hand held device. I just wonder how anybody can actually be in the moment when they are constantly tied to something, someone, somewhere else?
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          Jun 29 2011: Well you are not in the moment, which I guess is the the problem. In some ways its an old argument that our great grandparents had with our grandparents over operator phones. That said there is something wonderful about face to face undisturbed conversations with other live people that is not close to being replicated through technology.
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      Jun 30 2011: I agree with you Colleen - it truly is about balance as well as making your own rules.

      Anthony - you bring up an interesting point. I often wonder how much of the "balance/rules" are driven by generational as well as lifestage drivers.
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        Jun 30 2011: Yes...balance and making your own rules. Who's making YOUR rules Maureen? You going to take Jimmy up on the challenge?
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          Jul 1 2011: I going to start with the 1 day a week approach and report back. First day is on the 4th naturally :) wish me luck
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        Jun 30 2011: Maureen


        One of the contributors of this problem is that it is to new for any kind of social etiquette to have formed concerning it. The closest we have to this is laws concerning driving while using a phone. There another thread trying to form some sort of E mail etiquette that is on a similar tangent as what you are talking about
        http://www.ted.com/conversations/3901/let_s_save_our_inboxes_by_adop.html?c=274939
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        Jul 1 2011: Good luck Maureen...have fun with it:>)
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      Jun 30 2011: i have a nokia 3310. am i the winner?
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        Jun 30 2011: I just upgraded from it, don't know the new models name... got it as a (used) gift!
        Yes, you win!
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    Jun 30 2011: Maureen, just put it down now (really, do it NOW) and don't pick it up until this conversation closes.
    Then write a closing statement explaining how it went.
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      Jun 30 2011: You're pushing the envelope Jimmy...think she can do it? That's 5 days, 15 hours and 42 minutes away!!!
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      Jul 1 2011: Great idea Jimmy. You must know how competitive I am. I love a challenge. Here's what I can do. I will give up my phone on the 4th and report back on my independence from my smartphone. I'm already breaking out in hives.
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        Jul 1 2011: Take some deep breaths...relax...be calm...life goes on without your smartphone....really it does:>)
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        Jul 1 2011: Glad to hear it! (Not the hives thing) ^^
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      Jun 30 2011: I can relate to the love/hate relationship.

      I love your thought of "when spending time with people I care about, including myself." I make a point to turn it off AND put it in my handbag when we're at a restaurant as the time I have with friends (or myself) is so limited. To me, there is no better gift than being present with that person. Interestingly, I will pull my phone out at the end so I can capture a quick pic or video as I tend to be the memory junkie in many circles.
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          Jul 1 2011: I know -especially when you have a toddler who is going through the no filter - say whatever you want, phase. I feel so lucky to have captured so many of these moments. Just recently we were doing a webcam with my mom and my toddler and her broke out in song and did the hand gestures to itsy bitsy spider. I took out my camera phone and captured on video. I think I've watched it 50 times already and I tear up each time. It was such a magical moment empowered by technology where the two of them connected as if they were face to face. For that, I'm grateful for what technology enables.
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    Jul 5 2011: @Jimmy and @Colleen - you'll be happy to know that I gave up my smartphone for one full day, yesterday (yes, that even makes me giggle typing it). Here's what I learned:

    My Independence From My Smartphone Day
    * probably not the best idea to do when traveling in a car for 8 hours
    * my mom, brother and husband's large family didnt like not being able to get ahold of me
    * it was really hard not to cheat; i didn't touch or look at it all day, but I so wanted to
    * I probably "cheated" by relying more on my iPad (when I wasn't driving :)
    * it was frustrating to think that I couldn't get ahold of someone instantly
    * yet, also liberating as it felt good that someone needed to simply wait to get ahold of me
    * this is probably like working out or going on a diet...the first day is always the hardest
    * I'm still on the fence though of whether I want to go on a "diet"
    * instead, I think realistically, I'll adjust my daily "rules"

    Thanks again for the challenge. This was fun!
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      Jul 5 2011: So here's an even greater challenge!

      Go camping, for one day. Don't bring ANYTHING electrical!
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        Jul 6 2011: You really want me to get hives don't you, Jimmy?
        Thanks again for the fun.
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      Jul 6 2011: Maureen,
      Interesting exploration huh???

      Jimmy,
      You are really pushing it...LOL:>)
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    Jun 29 2011: .
    I just lost my smartphone in Congo and returned to Europe without one. Good times!

    I'm more relaxed than ever before, because suddenly I'm freed from:

    -pointless drivel from friends and girlfriends
    -idiotic games
    -very useless appointments
    -nonsensical work
    -totally irrelevant photos and apps that made me lose my time

    The result: a happy, healthy man with a lot of free time to do really interesting things.

    I encourage everybody to lose his phone (in Congo)!

    (By the way, I've noticed that those who really need you, will find and contact you anyways, even if you're not available by (smart)phone.)
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      Jun 29 2011: Haha, the only thing that struck me was "girlfriends"...
      I must say that to me you come off as quite the player Laurens.

      Anyway, good for you!
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      Jun 29 2011: One of the best reason to travel is to learn to lose that which we no longer need.
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      Jun 30 2011: Well who wouldn't want to lose your smartphone in Congo? Now I want to know more about the story that caused you to lose it - perhaps it has something to do with your girlfriends?

      Seriously, I can imagine how freeing this is and have often thought about a week without any technology. A challenge for me is I'm a working mom who also specializes in digital. Even putting aside my work responsibilities, I would have a really hard time giving up the smartphone for a week as it is my to-do list, reminder system, quick message check-in, 2 minute sanity break and if need be, a calm down toy for my kids.
      Ok, now I'm ready to go to Congo.
  • Jun 29 2011: I need a cell phone but not necessarily a smart phone.
  • Jun 30 2011: I detest smartphones. But no option except to have one. Otherwise you're out. I would and have happily being without using mine for a week or more. Never miss it. Actually, I don't give my number. It is like giving everybody permission to interrupt me whenever they want. Hell no. I use the calendar function, posts from time to time, listen to music, a bit of texting, sometimes I e-mail, but I don't have the e-mail, nor anything else, interrupting me ever from the smartphone, I check when and if I want. I love my right for privacy, including being by myself from time to time, and I make good use of it.

    I agree with Steve about the analog day a week. I do no-computer-day-a-week already (no official day, often saturday or sunday). That day I also leave the smartphone far from me.
  • Jun 29 2011: It would be hard for sure. I have been holding off getting a dataplan for the very reason that I do not want to be always accessible. I want to define when I am available and when I am not. I personally don't think this "always connected" vision is sustainable in the long-run. We all need down-time.

    I went on vacation two years ago and left my smartphone at home. I will admit, it was a little hard the first day or so, but after it felt great! I know, there is a difference between being on vacation and going through a normal week ;)

    I am trying to designate one day a week as an "analog day". It's usually Mondays for me. And to always remember that things are not as urgent as we tend to make them feel. Its important to remember that tasks will always be there, but our health is fragile.
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      Jun 30 2011: Great idea Steve. Maybe my baby step experiment could start with the 1 analog day a week idea.
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    Jun 29 2011: Yes.
    It's the narcissistic arrogance to think people can't survive with me out of their reach for a day that make me keeps my cells.
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    Jun 29 2011: I could do it for sure. Even though I've a smartphone I use it mainly for phone calls, and browsing the web only if I don't have access to my laptop. But I could never give up my laptop computer even for 2 days.
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      Jun 30 2011: Interesting. I'm actually looking forward to the day I can get rid of my PC and rely more on my iPad. Right now I have to use 3 devices - phone/iPad/PC (note - I work in digital so it comes with the territory)
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    Jun 29 2011: No I cant. I cant be disconneted from the world & TED.Com.

    I might agree to be away from my girlfriend but not smartphone.
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      Jun 30 2011: lol. You may lose both with that answer :)
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        Jun 30 2011: why should I loose both ? I found my existing girlfriend with the help of my smartphone.
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        Jul 3 2011: Gotcha, but she is also using smartphone.....
  • Jun 29 2011: I've never had one. So long as I have my iPod touch or some other form of Internet access nearby, I'm alright.
  • Jun 29 2011: yes.