Sunday, July 24, 2011

Addicted to technology or addicted to distraction

As we sit down to dinner in a restaurant, I hear the same phrase repeated quite often, "Put that away."

A few too many times, I have checked-in on Foursquare and checked one last piece of gmail before setting my smartphone(s) aside and engaging in polite dinner conversation. I have even glanced back occasionally to see if the green, red or blue light is blinking and sometimes haven't felt guilty.

I've tried to distance myself from the phone. We banished our land-line after being drilled by too many telemarketers, and currently, our household has roughly1.5 phones per person.

I couldn't go back and live without a cellphone. I think I could go back and live without a smartphone. But the notepads, calendars, pens and pencils required to keep our schedules and lives in careful balance would be a huge deterrent.

With that said, I have yet to see a piece of tecnology that actually saves me time, as in, now I have time to do something I really want to do, like sit and relax and read a book. I am convinced, with or without a dishwasher I would have the same leisure time. I am convinced, with or without a blender, Cuisinart, bagel toaster, convection oven, or microwave, I would estimate no differently when I hungrily peered at the wall clock and predicted what time dinner would be ready.

Technology has bought me nothing except distraction.

I gave up television to truly bond with a portable keyboard. Now, because I spend exactly zero hours watching tv and many hours on my laptop, marketers are trying even harder to connect with me. In her article, "Moms Can’t Wait for QR Codes" Maryanne Conlin states that over 60% of moms have the ultimate portable keyboard: a smartphone.

That does not give me comfort.

That's 60% of the female population who is tempted to text while driving, tempted to interrupt their conversation with me to take a call from their kid, and are very inclined to over indulge their internal photography beast and dilute the Facebook stream with home movies that will never make it to America's Funniest Home Videos.

But so equipped, moms with smartphones become a target for the latest technology feature and the simplest one on the horizon is the QR code. It will save us time, the marketers will preach as they push links to websites, as they paste blobs on billboards, as they plunder our inbox with e-coupons for designer food as we enter the grocery store to buy bread or milk.

I can see it now. We'll enter a new restaurant and be greeted with a buy one, get one QR code. It'll be a natural step for businesses, after all, they need to use the latest technology to hook us. But as a marketing person, I will have to ask, "If I'm already here, why are you discounting your product?"

Then I'll wonder how they can use QR codes to speed up the ordering process, and wonder why it's not saving any of us any time.

Since the post, these references have popped on QR Codes:

July 20, 2011 Festival organized in Korea, will take place July 21-31 anywhere where there is internet access, smartphone users and access to the film festival poster. Link provides event's QR Codes:
World’s First QR Code Film Festival


UPDATE 7-24-11