It’s very energizing to meet people who share similar interests. It’s like an auto collision without the damage.
For me, this week has been a series of “people collisions” as I’ve met mobile professionals in San Francisco at the annual Smaato advertising events. Wednesday night, I was part of a roundtable discussion with app developers, media reps, one venture capitalist and Harald Neidhardt, the co-founder and CMO at Smaato, a large mobile advertising company. We discussed mobile applications, the mobile Internet, the future of mobile and such. Last night, I attended Smaato’s annual mobile app awards and talked with a lot of interesting people–all passionate about their mobile lives
I’ve always enjoyed watching the effects of technology–especially mobile–on people. My passion for technology probably comes from my childhood. I was always the performer, participated in high school speech and drama events, made recordings with my Dad’s wire recorder.
Yes, I’m dating myself, but before audio tapes and CD’s, you could get decent voice recordings using wire recorders. The only problem was on rewind. If you didn’t stop the recorder at the right time, mounds of wire flew through the air. Have you ever tried untangling thin wire?
But I was passionate about audio and, for my first career, managed two National Public Radio stations in South Dakota and Iowa, two states demanding stoicism during long, sub-freezing weather and humid summers. Looking back on my days in Brookings, South Dakota and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, though, is memorable. the 30-40 of us from California who were rejected by the locals, got together for arts events, Mamma and Poppa Geno’s 18 course Italian dinners making whole wheat bread (ingredients: wheat, gluten, water). It was fun. I collided with people who were passionate about things that were meaningful to me.
In our personal and business lives today, I see less passion and fewer collisions. Whether it’s the recession, friends and family splintered across the country or a re-alignment of the stars is up for grabs. It just is.
I guess the point of all this is: seek out people who are passionate about things that interest you. You might have more people collisions in your life–collisions that re-energize the spirit, encounters with people who care deeply about something important in their lives.
Tonight I was excited about writing a blog post for one of my other blogs. As I wrote, getting more and more enthusiastic about the thoughts flowing from my brain, I kept getting interrupted by technology distractions (email messages from FaceBook friends and my buzzing BlackBerry). Finally, I turned off email, flipped the BlackBerry upside down outside its case and returned to my blog post.
I have a strong feeling that when we claim we don’t have time in life to do things, it’s not because we truly lack time. It’s because we allow technology to rule our lives. Twitter is a good example of technology gone bonkers. If you use Twitter, like I do, it can become addictive, even distracting, taking precious hours of our time better spent doing something more important.
Twitter is like a stock exchange’s electronic board attacking our eyes and minds with stock price and index information. While Twitter has its benefits, you have to search Tweets in the search box or use a tool like TweetDeck to find useful, relevant personal or business information. Otherwise, it’s a terrible distraction and waste of time.
FaceBook can equally distract us with its insistent email messages about friends who’ve responded to comments we’ve written online. On top of reminders to post messages, Facebook has created an increasing number of surveys, birthday reminders and other messages that clutter our lives like advertising.
Yes I realize I can turn off email reminders and set communication preferences, but those of us who use LinkedIn, FaceBook and other social and business sites have created an information quagmire that’s unrelenting. Social media sites do provide connections to other people, but enough is enough.
Next time you’re working on something important, focus completely on the task at hand and silence the Internet invaders that demand attention and cloud our minds.