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Be There, All There, All The Time


Downtown Las Vegas – On a Friday night

If you have to explain…

I tell others that if they have to explain a pictures they maybe shouldn’t use it. It would be nice if I followed my own rules. I took this shot in Las Vegas last Friday night. It struck a cord with me.

Often we spend more time with our electronic devices than we do with each other. Yet we use them to “socialize” with others. I use the word we because I sometimes do the same thing. Instead of totally being in the moment, I am in the moment and on twitter, or looking at my email.

In the last few months I have tried to make sure that I never touch my BlackBerry while I am with other people. There is some value to being there all the way. When I am talking to someone and they are looking at their email, or twitter I always feel like I am alone. There have been times when I have been excited to see someone but quickly realized that I wouldn’t get a face-to-face conversation because the other face was looking at twitter. As if to tell the world what is going on, while leaving me out of the conversation.

Back to the photo. Las Vegas is not my kind of place. Look at the photo and the expressions on their faces, do they look happy?

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Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Steve Simon

    September 25, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I have a cell phone, I have a website, I have no Blackberry…
    I play golf with a younger fellow ( younger in my circles means he is in his forties).
    He lives on the Blackberry, plays terrible golf and is almost left in the parking lot alone with his golf bag because of his preoccupation with self. He feels absolutely comfortable to holding up a finger to “Shush” someone in his social zone while he communicates via his electronics with someone else.
    He has other negatives in other areas, but it just struck a cord with me, as I just got back from playing 18 holes (he was there), and read your post.
    I hope I remember this and never fall into that rude habit!
    Good behavior is inexpensive, and does not take a tremendous amount of effort:)

  2. Paula Henry

    September 25, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    T- There’s something about being in the moment with people. My friends, associates and family can tell when I am on my computer while talking with them on the phone. I have had to make a concious effort to leave my home office when I am talking to them. I don’t want them to believe what they have to say is not important. Well said and photographed!

  3. Todd Carpenter

    September 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Unless it’s a hugely important call, I won’t even answer my phone while I’m talking to someone face to face. In a group it’s a little different, and in geeky groups, it seems perfectly acceptable.

    I have found use in texting someone who may just be a few feet away. It’s a modern way to whisper in a person’s ear.

  4. Wade Munday

    September 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Unfortunate sign of the times. I think people as a whole are becoming less and less polite and civil.

    If I’m talking with someone in person, I think it’s terribly rude if they answer their cell phone or stop the conversation to respond to a text message or email. If I’m meeting with someone, I’ll put my cell phone on silent, so I won’t be distracted by calls/emails.

    Lately I’ve had people call me, then put me on hold to take another call.

    However, I catch myself doing the same thing with my family and need to stop and “be there, all there”

  5. Kim Wood

    September 25, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    ugh. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
    I used to tell my teenagers to put the phone away! Now I just join them.

    I remember one night at Inman in San Francisco, Jay Thompson caught me, “Put that away!” The funny thing was, the place we were in was loud, and to talk to the person I wanted to talk to I couldn’t hear – so we texted each other. We had fun anyway 🙂

    In my REALTOR life, however, it’s easy not to use the phone. The only time I’ll answer is when I’m negotiating an offer, and when I tell clients that – they want me to do the same for them.

    Thank you for the gentle reminder. And the powerful photograph.

  6. Louis Cammarosano

    September 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I like Todd’s explanation-it depends on the context. Generally its really rude to be twittering or checking email (or writing blog posts) while talking to some one.

    However there are certain circles of people who would not find it odd to have a few companions firing off blog comments at dinner while talking and tweeting to each other and to those not at the table

  7. Tim McDonald

    September 25, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I do find it uncomfortable, and I guess therefor not proper, to engage in my twitter/checking email on my phone while with other people. I’m constantly reminded of this by my gal, who has no problem with what I do as long as it’s not when we’re eating or with friends. I haven’t found too many fellow drivers that find it “proper” for me to try while in the car either! lol

  8. Elaine Reese

    September 25, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Call me old-fashioned, but I think it’s just plain rude to not give someone 100% of your attention when they are face-to-face. IMO, it sends a message that the person you’re with isn’t as important as whoever is tweeting.

  9. Missy Caulk

    September 26, 2008 at 3:53 am

    In my generation it is rude, however it is so apart of the gen x & y generations that it is normal. When I have been out with younger clients, and my phone rings they want me answer it.
    The only people I answer for anywhere and everywhere are my kids, I never know if they need me right then. I tell clients that.
    But, overall I just wait until I can return the calls.

  10. Mack

    September 26, 2008 at 6:24 am

    I explain my cell phone policy to my clients right up front. When I am with them they desire my attention 100%, end of story. At one time we had a policy in our office that if your cell phone rang during an office meeting it was a $25.00 fine payable to Children’s Miracle Network. Great charity – hated the fine – only happened once.

  11. Teresa Boardman

    September 26, 2008 at 6:33 am

    I agree there are times and places and sometimes with people where it is acceptable to tweet or read. With a group of people it is not nearly as awkward as it is in a one-on-one situation. I do pretty much ignore calls when I am with someone unless it is family and I think I need to respond right away. It diminishes a on-on-one conversation to when one party is looking at their hand held.

  12. Nickie Rothwell

    September 26, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Not to mention dangerous.

    Remember the poor gal that fell down the stairs because she was so focused on her texting at SF Connect?

    Perhaps texting is best done seated in a quiet place.

  13. Cyndee Haydon

    September 28, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    T – love the pic and the vivid reminder – I’ve started to leave my computer behind like this weekend when I took kids to Disney – it’s so easy to jump on and decided I wanted them to have my undivided time 🙂 – of course it was easier beacause we left Jack behind to handle business (lol)

  14. Linsey

    October 2, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    A couple years ago I realized that I had been on the phone nearly everyday that week while picking my kids up from school. The shame…..

    No more. No phone. No email. No texting. Amazing what I find out in the 5 minute drive with undivided attention that I might otherwise have missed.

    It’s a reminder to all of us to be fully present in what we are doing. Unfortunately, Socal experienced the worst of this mid September when a Metrolink train operator was texting just prior to the collision that killed 25 and injured 130 other passengers.

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