Post by Nate Ludens
According to the Google search I just did, Voltaire said it first: With great power comes great responsibility. Usually we hear this quote from a Jedi, a title fighter, or a team that just won the Stanley Cup, but not this time.
I’m aiming that quote right at you, Mr. or Ms. Technophobe.
Each of us know a certain someone who’s glued to their mobile device(s) 24/7, tweeting, instagramming, and snapping away. You know ‘em. I know ‘em. And hey, I’m guilty sometimes, too. It’s no secret that we love social media here at Digital Royalty. By now, there’s hundreds of entries on this blog and other pages around the web about the power of social communication. We have unprecedented access to our favorite TV shows, sports, and news updates, which is great. Hey, if social media can swing elections and overthrow governments around the world, it can certainly make or break a much smaller business like a restaurant.
Speaking of, I recently read a disturbing article about a restaurant in New York City that grew tired of seeing poor reviews about their slow service. They staffed up, and even trimmed the menu down to try and make some changes. According to the patrons, the service was still too slow. So the restaurant owners hired a firm to review their surveillance tapes to see what changed over the last decade, and why they were seeing such an increase in attitudes about their service. Savvy move, if you ask me.
Their findings were pretty eye-opening. Turns out, the problem wasn’t a lazy wait staff, slow cooks, or a spike in business that added nearly an hour to the average dinner sitting – it was you and me! Customers are busy taking selfies with their dinner dates, reading online reviews, texting friends for recommendations, and checking in on Foursquare – all from the dinner table. Patrons are the ones slowing down the service team by their dependency on their phones - and on average, ordering their food a full 21 minutes later than they did a decade ago. Can you believe it?
This isn’t just an isolated instance, and many restaurants are taking note. Another article highlights a restaurant in Jerusalem that gives you 50% off your bill if you turn off your phone during dinner. The owner is pleading with his patrons to socialize in person and enjoy the full dining experience, then power on and share the story after dessert.
Like I said, with great power, comes great responsibility, and we have a responsibility as the social/digital generation to be aware of our dependency on technology and use it for good. At Digital Royalty, we sometimes put all our phones in a box or in the center of the table when we have team meetings, to keep us from getting distracted by the constant Twitter notifications and influx of Snapchats. It’s our way of holding ourselves accountable for the times when we shouldn’t be on our phones.
Do you think we’re abusing our power? What measures do you take to get a date, a spouse or your children to turn off their devices and tune in to the moment?