I have a Smartphone as I am sure you do. I have to be honest and say that I mainly use it as a telephone rather than a surrogate computer, I could probably get by with a very simple mobile telephone but every now and then I find the additional functionality useful. My Smartphone is not the central point of my life.
I first became conscious of it when I was in Hong Kong, then later on in China but have noticed that it is even happening in my local town.
People don’t talk to each other any more; the Smartphone is the focal point of their existence.
I started to notice in restaurants that people sitting at the same table, eating together, instead of speaking between courses were instead totally immersed in their individual Smartphone. It wasn’t just once of twice, it was almost universal; people in a social environment were spending the vast majority of their time together, doing an individual thing, interacting with their Smartphone rather than interacting with each other.
The more I looked the more I saw the same phenomena, people sitting next to each other interacting with their individual Smartphone rather than interacting with each other. Conversation was dead.
Why does this matter? Well as we all know, conversation is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to sharing, capturing and re-using knowledge. It is a foundational skill of knowledge management. Does this mean that we need to teach our staff to “have conversations” and not just interact with their Smartphone if our work to introduce knowledge management is to be successful?