Over at Netchicks Marketing blog, the new standard in family Christmas photos has been revealed!

I laughed and then I had one of those "things that make you go HUM moments." The blog post asks if smart phones are making us socially dumb. Good question. As I read, I realized that for many of us the word 'social' is being dramatically realigned to refer to...well...the stuff we do with our heads down into our smart phones.

Then I had a few more thoughts.

The presence of mobile devices has changed the way we interact. Is it "bad" or making us dumb? I read an interesting book last year The Shallows, by Nicolas Carr that suggests the problem is larger than mobile devices and dangerously close to causing a rewiring of our brains. Carr is a bit over zealous in his claims, but it's a good read and contains some great research.

As a public speaker, I would contend that the speaking environment has been dramatically changed by mobile devices and Social Media. Speakers once depending on word, vocal inflection and gestures to all work together in a precisely developed symphony of presentation that required rapt attention of the audience. We can no longer be assured that people are, at any given moment actually listening or watching us. What to do? We can strive to embrace the change and adapt to it - there are some interesting possibilities available - 

1. using other's Social clout to market your ideas and brand by inviting people to interact via Social Media
2. adopting a social vernacular to engage users. "This is tweet worthy"
3. providing short (less than 140 characters) points and quotes
4. letting people know when you need them to stop, look and listen
5. keep Social handles and hash tags visible throughout the presentation

Like it or not, Social Media and mobile devices are a means of communicating information, and what is a good presentation if not information that is educational, motivational and fun to share?

All of that said, we do need to balance our use of these devices and media and have a low tolerance for what we experience as rude behavior in social situations.

What do you consider rude smart phone behavior?