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A creative blog by Tracy Larrua on The Whole 9

Tracy (or Trace, as friends call her) Larrua lives and works between Hawaii and L.A. A seasoned pr/marcom specialist who has worked primarily in the hospitality and entertainment industries, she enjoys teaching her “Get The Word Out” pr workshops and volunteering her time with non-profits. When not glued to her sassy MacBook, you can find her relaxing at the beach, enjoying live theatre, or at a BBQ with friends.

THE LOOK DOWN GENERATION

Because I work in the mobile way, I can pretty much create wherever and whenever. And if I land at anyone of my favorite coffee shops (or the beach) and catch a wifi signal, then it’s on! But lately as I roam about town, all I see is people looking down. Literally, looking down. Walking looking down, driving looking down, and even at lunch or dinners, looking down. One day when driving on La Cienega Blvd., one of the busiest streets in L.A., I was at a stoplight. When I looked up to observe the intersection, all I saw on all four corners was either people standing, walking, or sitting in their car, looking down- texting. Wow.

No one seems to connect these days. I am at times, guilty of that. For me, and what I do, I need to email most of the times and sometimes text. Most people I work with prefer that over to a phone conversation because the info needed to conduct business is either in the details of an email or a text such as a phone number, directions, etc. As well, many people don’t have the time or luxury of a phone call. It’s easier to write an email with “…Hey Heidi! When you get a chance, open the attachment and let me know your thoughts on the proposal and the artwork. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. The address for the meeting is…” vs. leaving a voicemail (which people often don’t check; instead they try to call you back right after you left the message, to hear what you just left on their voicemail service, without listening to the voicemail first to learn that I just walked into a meeting and can’t talk and just left them important info- a personal pet peeve of mine). Sorry. I’m old. I like to be efficient. Not redundant.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again: Though technology is good, it is also evil. It is that thing that can help you as well as create havoc if balance isn’t practiced. I’ve been at meetings with professionals, who in between bites of their Chicken Cobb salad and conversation will constantly look down in 15-second intervals to check on the red light notification of their cell phone. I’ll excuse it once. But on the second time, I’ll actually ask if they wouldn’t mind focusing at the task at hand as to not waste anyone’s time. Unless you are expecting an emergency phone call (or text), which by the way, should be announced at the beginning of the meeting, just wait until you’re done with the appointment and check on the way out to your car. That’s why Santa and his little technology elves created voicemail. Otherwise, skip the A.D.D. behavior of looking down and not being present, and BE present.

And that’s my holiday gift to you… the friendly reminder to strive for electronic balance in your life in 2010. Ho! Ho! Ho! Mele Kalikimaka e Hauoli Makahiki Hou;)

  1. Thanks for the reminder — everyone these days needs it. *Looks down at my phone to check for any new texts* Hah. Mele Kalikimaka to you too!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. People taking the time for face to face real conversations and contact is probably one of the greatest problems in society. We’ve all become so used to the quick and the dead sort of instant gratifications of technology in that we’re giving up on something we’re wired to do. Communicating through our facial responses and senses, especially the eyes. Because sometimes it doesn’t take a single word, txt, or even a grunt to get a point across or tell someone what is going on. It is usually all right there in our eyes, the most emotive portions of our biology. Perhaps that is where we need to start looking up to. :)

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