Can I have your attention…

Posted: October 17, 2015 in BDSM, Black Dog

I recently wrote about manners here where someone had let me down after arranging to meet.

Pianist James Rhodes recently posted this on Instagram:

This article highlighted something for me.

I am a little old-fashioned in my values. If I am having a face-to-face or telephone conversation with someone, I don’t appreciate them disappearing mid-conversation without good reason.

And yet  that appears for be the norm on social media. I understand that many are tweeting/messaging/posting in between doing things in real life. But maybe they shouldn’t be. Here are a few things to consider:

  • you are in a bank, discussing your mortgage application with an advisor who gets their phone out, taps away for two minutes before returning to you.
  • a baby is crying, obviously waiting for its feed, while the mother takes a selfie.
  • the waitress serving you takes a call, and proceeds give intimate details of her sex life over the phone as she serves you your meal

These examples may seem a little extreme, but who is to say they haven’t happened?

I was having a conversation with someone via messenger when I asked a question, and didn’t get a response. I waited about ten minutes, and then thought that something had come up. It became apparent my conversational partner was also having conversations with others at the same time. That may be usual, but when I am paying attention, I expect the person I am talking with to pay the same attention in return.

And that is what this is about: Attention.

I used to joke that the attention span for your average twitterati1 is three tweets, and it seems that our obsession with this medium is only making it worse.

I understand that social media can be an escape, but before the technology arrived, escape was achieved with hobbies and holidays, and these things rarely encroached on your day-to-day tasks. Maybe if we turned our attention back to where it should be, that is:

  • work when we are supposed to be working;
  • our loved ones, when we are with them;
  • the person we are talking with, when we are having a real conversation2

Maybe we might achieve more in our lives, or be happier, rather than using social media to complain about how rubbish our mediocre lives are.

But that is just my opinion.



Just to clarify some of the terms used in this post:

  1. Twitterati: a term I coined to describe the majority of people on twitter typically with a short attention span, shallowness, and self-absorption.
  2. Real conversation: a verbal interaction between two (or more) people, requiring focus and thought because it is meaningful to all concerned.

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