On the beat: 08/11

Socializing in a social media world

By Jim Bucher

 

PUT THE PHONE AWAY!

How many times have you uttered that phrase?

Whether it’s your kids, grandkids or maybe even your spouse, we are addicted to electronic devices.

I always joke that our future leaders of tomorrow will text across the table to hash out a peace accord initiative.

You laugh, but it happens now.

I can bore you with statistics of percentages of how much kids and adults are on their phones daily, but all you need to do is look around. We worry about them just like our parents worried about us with our boom boxes and Walkmans.

Well, a good friend of mine, Kathy Hart, who was on television here locally forever, contacted me and this subject came up. No, not transistor radios. Cellphones. She had a great idea: Share our vast communication skills from years of experience and put it to good use by offering advice to youngsters and young adults on the time and place to use your phone.

One of which is never at a job interview.

“Everywhere I see people with their heads buried in phones, tablets, lap tops,” says Hart, who also has a Master’s degree in communication from Miami University. “People are communicating through text and emails but are lacking the skills to have a meaningful discussion with their loved one, a neighbor, a teacher.”

So out of that discussion came “Socializing in a Social Media World,” a one-hour seminar we created to help people get back to communicating with each other in a meaningful way.

“We talk about body language, handshakes, eye contact…how to interview for a job or college and how to have conversations in-person instead of through electronics,” Hart says. “We also talk about putting those devices down and shutting them off during important times of the day, like when tweens and teens are doing homework. Studies show students who are interrupted by the dings that alert them to a tweet, snapchat, text, Vine video, Tumblr post are seeing grades decline because they are not focused.”

And the following is a true story. I know because I was there.

“Recently, at breakfast, a couple with two small children under five walked in,” Hart recalls. “They set up iPads for everyone at the table and all four ate—while looking at devices. Mealtime should be a time to talk and visit with one another. Put down the electronics!”

Here’s how the program works…

“We interact one-on-one, role-play and start the seminar by taking their devices and putting them on a table,” Hart explains. “Our goal is to have the participants leave feeling confident about making first impressions as they head to job and college interviews, or even just to talk to a teacher at school.”

Recently, we offered a seminar for some young women at the YWCA for the Girls Inc. campers and, if I do say so myself, it was informative, fun and there was no cellphone separation anxiety.

We even got this feedback…

“Kathy and Jim did a great job and really got a chance to connect with the girls on a deeper level because of the small group dynamics,” Emily, a youth services manager, said. “They used a lot of humor, which goes a long way with our crowd, so we appreciated that. Thank you again for connecting us, and we’re looking forward to bringing them back for another workshop with our middle school girls!”

Teen advocate Taylr said, “I thought the presentation was great. Kathy and Jim both had wonderful attitudes and were very effective at engaging the girls and getting them excited to participate. I greatly appreciated their recognition of diversity, and I could tell that they both approached the workshop with respect and equality in mind.”
Our goal is to get people socializing again, minus one cell phone at a time.

“We hope to reach all kinds of people, from church youth groups, schools, cheerleaders, soccer teams to kids in school and adults trying to get a job,” Hart continues. “Also, to have a seminar just for parents, so they know kids are learning by example.”

And with that, it’s time to close the laptop. (Practice what you preach, you know.)

Cheers!

Buch

For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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