At the YP Summit, I delivered workshops on improving your art of conversation. I required participants to check their phones (smart or otherwise) at the door. As I explained to participants at the end of the sessions, this was not because I am some modern day Luddite, but because I wanted them to experience the thrill of conversation, with the intensity and depth of being present, and without the pressure of some synchronous, abstract communication tether. I also wanted them to be able to reflect afterwards on their relationship with people, with technology and with themselves. The aim was not to teach them a lesson, but to free them to interrogate their attitudes towards personal engagement and the control we relinquish to our technologies. We sometimes allow ourselves to be consumed by the rapacious demands of social media, the internet and technological media, and the inherent information mass of volume and velocity. Sometimes, we need to be human.
Photos used with permission of Omaha Young Professional Council. Taken by Calvin Smothers, Anchor Photography