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When One is Greater Than Billions

May 2017
AUTHOR: COLIN TAUFER

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We love our smartphones. And when I say “we,” I mean pretty much everybody. Every year, as teachers worldwide can attest, younger and younger students bring them to school and find them indispensable – just like their parents. As of today, there are over 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world, and this number will continue to climb dramatically over the next many years.  

Every smartphone user has dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of apps on their phones. And every one of these apps, no matter their specialization or niche, no matter how sophisticated or simple does one thing: they allow the user, directly or indirectly, to communicate to others. This is really why we love our smartphones. Each one of us carries two and a half billion tiny threads in our pocket, connecting everyone. Each thread is attached to someone we can communicate with, with billions of connections worldwide. 

We send silly emojis to friends, funny videos to family members, important emails to coworkers, critical reminders to clients, preening selfies to those we love. Of course, we can call people too, a use of the phone that seems to have become secondary.  

Closer to home, all of this connectivity allows families to stay in touch and coordinated to a degree our grandparents would’ve never imagined. It’s quite fantastic. But a heart emoticon should never replace an in-person “I love you,” expressed with heartfelt sincerity.  

Use your smartphone to its fullest. But remember that many of your most cherished and important family moments were meaningful because there was personal contact. That one human connection was more valuable than a billion digital connections. You were close. You felt the emotion. You looked in their eyes.  

This was when your girlfriend became your fiancé, when you greeted your newborn to the world, when you had your first kiss, when you locked eyes and finally understood, when your child said their first word, when a heartfelt apology resolved the disagreement, when your dad’s encouragement made you feel like you could run through a wall, when your mom’s touch healed your scratch, when you lay under the stars with a dear friend, the only two people in the universe.  

Set aside the time and space for uninterrupted personal contact. Make the connection human, not digital. Turn off the cell phone, close the email, silence the music. Make more meaningful moments with those closest to you. Make one connection more important than the billions.  

Author: Colin Taufer

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