Old-School: Nomophobia

I am excited about my new blog and thought I would write one more article as my spring break winds down. Let me start by posing this question. Do you know what the word nomophobia means? Hmmm….I did not so I will fill you in… it is “the phobia of being out of mobile contact”….as in cell phone contact.

I have had thoughts on my mind lately regarding changes in our communications systems as a society. In my doctoral program at Creighton I recently finished a writing course. My final project was a research paper titled, “Texting and Social Media and the Effects on our Relationships.” After analyzing several scholarly studies, the results of this paper showed that there is a very dark-side to texting and social media. It basically is a running Christmas card and highlight reel for people. You put your best photos online and usually filter them adding a dash of glitter to the actual moment. Social media has not been around very long in the big scheme of things. The research on this new ten-year(ish) phenomenon of Facebook suggests that the results can be more damaging for people than good–promoting feelings of loneliness for individuals and the danger of comparing an individuals life to the nonstop “highlight reel.” With that said, I personally enjoy the many benefits of celebrating friends, staying in touch with those who live around the world and following sites I love–this is the challenge.

Alongside Facebook is the smartphone that continues to get smarter as new ones come out. I peer reviewed a paper by one of my fellow cohort members, author Erin Wong, that researched the actually anxiety effects people have when their phone is not on them–nomophobia. More of our interaction with one another is solely over text. Dating has now become an activity where people market themselves and depending on the size of city you live in you can have access to hundreds if not thousands of people by simply “swiping right” while you are sitting on your couch in pajamas. While this may seem convenient, it almost reminds me of a Dr. Seuss book that has a big life lesson for all of us to learn from at the end.

How can all of these “smart” things not outsmart us….

I personally feel tempted to go back to the flip-phone. I love getting phone calls from people and hearing their voice. Communication solely over text is missing the voice and usually the message is misunderstood–nonverbal communication is about 55% of any message and emoticons just don’t make up for it. If you walk into a restaurant or go to a school event, you will see crowds of people with their phone in front of their face–forgetting to live in the moment.

As I write this article, I acknowledge that these are all habits I need to break. I would like to make a few personal goals and invite you to join me. I am going to challenge myself to call people again. If conversations are complex text isn’t a good option. I am going to  make coffee dates with friends. I hope to make a daily intention to practice deep listening skills, have my phone flipped over if someone is in my office talking to me, and practicing self-awareness as I move throughout my day. Those feel like small tweaks that may have a large impact.

The beautiful idea of balance arrives again. I am just as much of a consumer as I am a critic. However, pausing and thinking of the value of human face-to-face communication and potential need for all of us to do our part in preserving those quality interactions may be necessary for all of us.

How does this relate to a blog on community and leadership? Leadership is about building capacity in others. Being a good community members feels about the same. I hope to develop deeper relationships with people as I make a personal goal to be mindful.

May we all bring back a little ‘old-school’ etiquette or at least reflect on the potential damage an “instant” world creates.

May we all find the balance between “old-school” and “nomophobia.”

Shared on 2017-03-16 03:17:17.

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