So, my iPhone 5 went on the fritz. I called AppleCare and got a really professional, organized, thoughtful millennial who helped me. We did a diagnostic on the phone and it was clear it was fried.
He was so helpful that towards the end I told him about what I do for living. It was clear from the way he responded that something was bothering him. Considering the stellar service he had just given me, I said he could ask me any one question and that I would try to answer it for him.
He said: "I really wonder about my overuse and my friends' overuse of social media. I feel like we don't communicate anymore except through Facebook, texting, Etc.. Friendships have been ruined. I find it's hard to keep friends and if I wanted to approach someone, truthfully, I lack the confidence to do so.
I'm really not sure how we should approach one another. Especially if I want to go on a date. I'm not sure how I should ask a girl out. Text her? Facebook? (I notice he didn't consider phoning her). I really believe that relationships are being ruined by social media and I'm not sure what to do about it. What should I do?"
So many people these days are commenting on the fact that teens and millennials really are losing the ability to know how to communicate in person with each other. What is more alarming is that when you going to a restaurant people of every age are sharing a meal while spending most of the time communicating with people that are not in the room.
I paused for a moment... and then I said to this vexed young man from AppleCare:
"You represent a great quality in millennials these days. You were searching and not accepting the status quo. I think social media is a great tool. But as with everything, things must be in moderation.
Before I talk about some things you could do to deal with the communication, I would suggest we talk about how to deal with the overuse of social media. I would recommend "micro-Sabbaths," "mini-Sabbaths" and "major-Sabbaths" as a great starting point.
In my definition of "sabbath," I am referring to the idea of break from everything electronic. No phones, no computers, no means electronic communications or electronic games.
A "micro-Sabbath" would be A 30 minute up to two hours a day of electronics free time.
A "mini-Sabbath" would be a two to four hour time period on a given day free of electronics.
A "major-Sabbath" would be a full day from waking up to sleep of electronic free time.
The next question is what to do with this time.
You could use it to read (I think they still make books).
You could use it to go for walks.
Paint. Play music. Sing. Dance.
Or you could practice an ancient ritual called...communication.
Communicating with family, friends, business people and loved ones.
Communication is an art. The goal is to learn about someone's passions, someone's pleasures and someone's peccadilloes. In short, Great communication should be about sharing one's heart.
How do we do that?
Ask them a question about something that is important and meaningful to yourself.
Really listen to their answer. Try to understand their response from their perspective and share how that makes you feel."
The gentleman from AppleCare and I were expected to converse on the simple and rudimentary level but upon seeing A fellow human being who cares and is searching I took the opportunity to communicate.
Here is my challenge to you.
Take one of these Micro sabbaths and tweet me how you used that time and I will share it with everyone I know and ask them to do the same.
Let's see what happens!