Social ineptitude masked as tech savvy.

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    May 07, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
    How many of you have (or had) acquaintances/friends who, when in a social situation, cannot stop fiddling with their iPhones, take countless snapshots, and generally resort to hiding in their technology? It's as if they're so entrenched in faceless communication that they can't actually function on a human scale anymore.

    I actually find it sad to watch after I get over the sheer annoyance. These people give the impression of being "connected", but in truth, they are very much an island. OK...maybe an island with a broacast antenna. :-)

    Any thoughts on this?

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    May 07, 2009 4:30 PM GMT
    The 'casual' omni-texters, a LOT. I notice it a lot on parties. During the early moments when not everyone are that drunk yet, there'd be cellphones out everywhere. But those are more like a 'don't talk to me I'm texting/talking to somebody else more familiar to me' kind of thing. Putting up barriers so as not to appear awkward in a group of strangers.

    There's another kind as well. The 'look at the gadgets I have, I have all the latest models, I'm richer [better] than you'. They basically flash the newest cellphones, ipods, and whatnot around hoping to impress people with it. That's the kind that annoys me the most. Albeit they annoy me less than rich people who own uber-computer setups just so they can brag about it, when all they actually do with it is play sucky 1999 PC games (and yes there's more than a hint of envy in that annoyance LOL).

    I do have one 'friend' (though he's more like tolerated rather than really part of the group) who's really insanely the extremes in both those types. A lot of times when we're out with some other friends, he'd pull out his phone and 'call' someone (obviously imaginary) and start blabbing off in affected tagalog-english (the language of choice among socialites or conios as we call them in the Philippines), always making sure his voice is loud enough so everybody can hear him talk about going on vacation on some godawful expensive beach or spending a few thousand here and there like it's so much loose change, etc.

    He does have a history of being a compulsive bragger though. He came from the poorest family of a very wealthy clan and grew up surrounded with much richer cousins. Probably why he always attempts to compensate.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a geek and I can spend days in front of the PC doing my 3d work without ever leaving the house. And I like having ipods around when traveling for instance. But I never take them out simply avoid awkward social situations. I also simply can't get used to cellphones. Mine has been gathering dust in the corner (last text I sent was 2 weeks ago) and I only pick it up when really needed.
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    May 07, 2009 6:42 PM GMT
    Sedative saidThe 'casual' omni-texters, a LOT. I notice it a lot on parties. During the early moments when not everyone are that drunk yet, there'd be cellphones out everywhere. But those are more like a 'don't talk to me I'm texting/talking to somebody else more familiar to me' kind of thing. Putting up barriers so as not to appear awkward in a group of strangers.

    There's another kind as well. The 'look at the gadgets I have, I have all the latest models, I'm richer [better] than you'. They basically flash the newest cellphones, ipods, and whatnot around hoping to impress people with it. That's the kind that annoys me the most. Albeit they annoy me less than rich people who own uber-computer setups just so they can brag about it, when all they actually do with it is play sucky 1999 PC games (and yes there's more than a hint of envy in that annoyance LOL).

    I do have one 'friend' (though he's more like tolerated rather than really part of the group) who's really insanely the extremes in both those types. A lot of times when we're out with some other friends, he'd pull out his phone and 'call' someone (obviously imaginary) and start blabbing off in affected tagalog-english (the language of choice among socialites or conios as we call them in the Philippines), always making sure his voice is loud enough so everybody can hear him talk about going on vacation on some godawful expensive beach or spending a few thousand here and there like it's so much loose change, etc.

    He does have a history of being a compulsive bragger though. He came from the poorest family of a very wealthy clan and grew up surrounded with much richer cousins. Probably why he always attempts to compensate.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a geek and I can spend days in front of the PC doing my 3d work without ever leaving the house. And I like having ipods around when traveling for instance. But I never take them out simply avoid awkward social situations. I also simply can't get used to cellphones. Mine has been gathering dust in the corner (last text I sent was 2 weeks ago) and I only pick it up when really needed.


    I never thought of it being a way to avoid breaking the ice with new people. I see it more with guys who are around people they already know, but ruin it for the group by either ignoring them in favor of texting with people who aren't present, or creating an environment where other people are constantly having their pictures taken by the person, when really it's a time to relax and socially flow more organically.
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    May 10, 2009 4:46 PM GMT
    I like that "digital Zombies"... May I use this w/the idiots that work for me????
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    May 10, 2009 4:59 PM GMT
    RuggerATX saidHow many of you have (or had) acquaintances/friends who, when in a social situation, cannot stop fiddling with their iPhones, take countless snapshots, and generally resort to hiding in their technology? It's as if they're so entrenched in faceless communication that they can't actually function on a human scale anymore.

    I actually find it sad to watch after I get over the sheer annoyance. These people give the impression of being "connected", but in truth, they are very much an island. OK...maybe an island with a broacast antenna. :-)

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks, a very contemporary topic. Almost none of my friends do anything like that, except sometimes take cell calls I think could have waited until later.

    I'll usually check my own ringing or vibrating phone and then silence it, unless it appears to be something truly urgent. Let it go to voicemail that I'll check later, I'm with friends right now.

    But then most of my set is older, so a generational values thing comes into play. Proper manners & politeness makes the people you're with more important than the people you're not with.

    Rather than hide in my technology, however, I share it. I always have hundreds of digital pics with me, and if something comes up in conversation I'll whip out my PDA and show the relevant photos to my friends.

    But I'd never use any device for my own private amusement while in their company. That would be like taking out a soft-cover book and starting to read a novel while having dinner with friends or something.

    Modern technology does provide new temptations, but the concept really hasn't changed. When you are with someone, you are with them and not with others, nor with other things.

    All my life I've known shy people who fuss with stuff when they don't feel comfortable in public with others. It isn't so much human nature that has changed, but the technology that gives us new ways to express it.
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    May 10, 2009 5:24 PM GMT
    Sedative saidThe 'casual' omni-texters, a LOT. I notice it a lot on parties. During the early moments when not everyone are that drunk yet, there'd be cellphones out everywhere. But those are more like a 'don't talk to me I'm texting/talking to somebody else more familiar to me' kind of thing. Putting up barriers so as not to appear awkward in a group of strangers.


    I've actually been noticing this a lot lately. Guys more interested in texting guys how aren't present, than talking to people at the party. Maybe it's insecurity and shyness, but it comes across as saying the people present are boring. I've just about said to guys, "If you don't want to be here, why are you?"
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    May 10, 2009 5:42 PM GMT
    It is annoying, when you're with someone and they're constantly on the cell or screwing around with their Blackberry. It's like, 'You matter so little to me that I'd rather be in my own world rather than acknowledge you by engaging in any sort of conversation."

    I don't know whether it's rudeness, insecurity or social ineptness. So I assume all three.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    May 10, 2009 6:12 PM GMT
    I think it depends on the context. I was with a buddy of mine a few nights ago at Rain, and some cutie just swooped in and started flirting with my buddy. Anywho, after about five minutes of playing "let my try to talk to the both of you, but you know who I am really interested in," I found it more awkward trying to be apart of their conversation than leaving it. But I don't frequent the bar scene often and my buddy was the only one there I know so I didn't want to just roam around. I said excuse me and distanced myself a few feet while I tinkered on my phone until they were done talking. It was more just a facade to justify my distancing myself from them without having to stand around alone, making my buddy feel awkward for putting me in that position. So I guess in the right context it can be useful.
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    May 10, 2009 6:39 PM GMT
    RuggerATX saidAny thoughts on this?

    I really just wish you'd told me this on Twitter.
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    May 10, 2009 6:53 PM GMT
    I get very annoyed, especially if their answer goes "hi..... no, not doing anything [YES YOU FUCKING ARE, YOU ARE TALKING TO ME]....sure.... chatter chatter chatter"

    People normally pick my glares. I would actually walk out on someone if they didnĀ“t get the hint.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    May 10, 2009 7:18 PM GMT
    " How many of you have (or had) acquaintances/friends who, when in a social situation, cannot stop fiddling with their iPhones, take countless snapshots, and generally resort to hiding in their technology? It's as if they're so entrenched in faceless communication that they can't actually function on a human scale anymore.

    I actually find it sad to watch after I get over the sheer annoyance. These people give the impression of being "connected", but in truth, they are very much an island. OK...maybe an island with a [broadcast] antenna. :-)

    Any thoughts on this?
    "

    I have and agree that at some level there is a good deal of technological hiding involved. I personally do not understand the cases of those who wish to be
    ' seen ' engaged in constant conversation or as though they consistently seem to have somewhere more interesting to be.

    It can only be sad if you're invested in these cases or types of people, but if you're not, then perhaps it's time to seek a more interpersonal group with which to interact.

    Two notable research writers who have given this subject some thought are:
    1. Bill McKibben, Deep Economy.
    2. Jared Diamond, Collapse.