Inspiration for this blog came when attending an all day networking event. The moment we had a break, the entire room jumped onto our phones. Aware we were there purposefully to get talking, small groups attempted to make conversation in amongst checking work emails, missed calls and several notifications.
It got me thinking… if a group of wonderfully interesting professionals are struggling to last an hour or two without their phones then it’s no wonder people struggle to sit through a lengthy performance with their mobiles.
However, it’s a distraction we need to be unbudging on. We’ve gone to a strict ‘mobile off’ policy to ‘whack your phones on silent’ and hope it’s good enough. It’s not. It makes room for cheeky phone checks and mid-applause messages. What’s more, for a steward to come blazing through the aisles to halt a rule-breaker in their tracks is even more disruptive. This means phone fiddlers are left entirely to their own devices (pun intended) to annoy all around them.
The solution? I’m not sure. We may very well get to a stage of introducing ‘phone friendly’ performance for those suffering from phone separation anxiety for even a few hours. Don’t worry, I’m joking. Perhaps, though, the introduction of more ‘acts’ and shorter breaks will ease the growing temptation for audience members to disrupt a performance to check their phones. Instead of long 20 minute breaks, there may be a trend towards a few 5 minute breaks and a 10 minute toilet break? Again, I hope not, but I can’t help but feel something is going to have to give.
In the meantime, please do resist the temptation to check your phone! It might be on silent, but the glare and the fiddling is just as distracting.