In last week's Parks and Recreation episode, Tom Haverford (played by Aziz Ansari) is ordered by a court after a car wreck to refrain from using screens of any kind for a week. No tweeting, no computers, no iPad, no GPS. Here's a quick look at the fallout:
The conclusion of the episode is one of the best moments. After seeking help from Ron Swanson and relapsing, Tom is given an ultimatum from Ron that goes a little something like this:
When you do get your phone back, you will not stare at it when talking with another human being. Look a man in the eye when you speak with him.
Here's the clip:
We would all do well to take Ron's advice, even if we haven't faced the wrath of a judge brought on by hitting a fire hydrant while tweeting.
As I wrote in today's Daily Dose (view past issues here), social media is at its best when it creates or improves human relationships, rather than hinders them. And, if we're finding that our tweets or updates or pins are getting in the way of our real-life connections, something isn't wrong with the medium.
Something is wrong with us.
There is a fine line between utility and idolatry. For those of us who are leaders, entrepreneurs, parents, and friends, let's make sure these are more tools than toys, and more enablers of personal connections than distractions.
And for Ron Swanson's sake, let's all put away our phones when we speak to one another.