DAILY INSIGHT: Digital Zombie Series: The Digital Yawn by Carl Hooker
Carl Hooker wrote an article for School CIO about what is called “The Digital Yawn.” This refers to that Twilight Zone moment when one person checks his/her phone, prompting others to check theirs, too. A conversation stops for a brief time for a tech check. Who knows why the first person did check the device, but others followed, and now you have a group of people instinctively reaching for their phones (or other device perhaps).
Thus begins a period of “nocialization”, where face-to-face interaction ceases, even in a face-to-face environment. We do need our devices. They tether us to global society beyond our own scope and provide insight and learning at levels previously unknown. We still need that human contact — that human conversation. Carl places a picture from a time gone by where train passengers all have their newspapers up in front of their faces. It seems “nocialization” is older than cell phones. The tech has changed.
We glean so much information by being connected to a digital world, but conversations and interaction with people in real time in a physical environment help us to do something with that information and knowledge. While yawns are a part of life and are bound to happen from time to time, the “digital yawn” seems to be more pervasive and longer-lasting. While not inherently bad, we need to be wary that it doesn’t detract from the conversations and interaction we need to thrive in a digital world instead of only surviving by the glow of a screen.