[Disclaimer: Inappropriate Rant in Progress. Reader Discretion is Advised.]
My brother Tim and I had this conversation yesterday. And I can't get it out of my head. We've noticed something in the past few years that is really becoming troubling. Here's the short of it; people not in the room (in your presence) have been somehow been demoted in importance compared to those outside the room. Common interpersonal decency, attention and respect has gone for a crap!
Why? Because everyone is so obsessed with what is happening on their smart phone that they won't give you their undivided attention. Here's an experiment you can undertake today. Go to a restaurant, and look for parties of two or more. How many of these people have their phones on the table, and continue to either look down at the phone, or interact with the device on a constant basis? My guess? The overwhelming majority.
This is disgusting. Yes, we all have "important" work to do. Yes, sometimes something is really "urgent" and we're waiting for an answer. But if you're not going to give your undivided attention to the person or people you are with, then don't show up. If you are present, be PRESENT.
Now, technology isn't exactly causing this, rather it's a behavioural problem. But we're all making technology that is enabling this disturbing trend. We should admit it, and we should do something about it. What should we do as technology builders? Sorry, I'm not that bright. You'll need to figure that out yourself.
But in the meantime, PUT DOWN THE @^%$^& PHONE AND ENGAGE WITH PEOPLE!!