Thursday, December 23

I'll Be Home For Christmas

I was recently interviewed for an article about how technology is changing how we interact during the holidays (should run next week). I think their theory is that technology has made it all so impersonal.

My observation is different -- that technology (and social media) has allowed us to be in touch and close again with so many people from the various parts of our lives. I know the holiday activities of all my Facebook friends, I'm getting holiday e-cards from all over the world, and I can even Skype with relatives who can't make the trip to my house for the big day. None of this could have happened before.

Social media, I believe, has brought us closer. Technology has allowed us to stay in touch, better than ever before. While at times it seems cold and impersonal, the result is often very personal.

But I suppose there's a limit and a balance.

We had a training session at the agency yesterday, all about sensitivity in the workplace. One of the topics was being "present" in meetings and making sure that you are paying attention to the conversation instead of texting and emailing. It's pretty "insensitive" to not give your co-workers the kind of participation and undivided attention that they need to get their work done, together.

So it got me thinking ... we need to be "present" during the holidays as well. Yes, keep in touch with old friends and family members across the miles on Facebook and post your holiday pictures to share with everyone on Flickr. But when the time comes to get down with the family, put down the electronic devices. Check them at the door. Be in the moment with your family and give them the attention they want.

I say this mostly to myself. Multi-tasking has become not a habit but a way of life, a necessity to keep it all going. My iPhone is never more than a few steps away from me.

But not this holiday. I am stepping away from the keyboard. I am going to be "Home For Christmas."

What's your experience? Jim.

"I'll be home for Christmas. You can count on me."

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