The Disconnected Society

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Weisser Realty

The Disconnected Society by Richard WeisserAs we gather together this holiday season, I would like to propose participation in the following behavioral experiment:

When there are ten or more people in a room, count how many of them at any given time are disconnected from the people around them and are otherwise engaged in the virtual realm via their mobile devices.

The sad truth is that it has become socially acceptable to be socially unacceptable.

What was once perceived as rudeness is now the norm. The living, breathing forms in the confined presence of the moment have been reduced to the status of a  text or a tweet and can be summarily ignored or deleted without any thought or compunction.

As for me, I miss the days or courtesy and etiquette. I did not mind a society that had governance of deportment.

But there is no turning back.


There never is!

Comments (113)

Doyle Davison
Hawaiian Beaches Hawaii - 714-968-6767 - Huntington Beach, CA
30 years as your Concierge services listing broker

We are a changing society addicted to technology.

Dec 25, 2014 04:10 PM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

I think I checked my phone twice yesterday.  I was very intentional about not being on it while I'm with my family.  

Dec 25, 2014 09:33 PM
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

I love the socially unacceptable comment.  Unfortunately it is true.

Dec 26, 2014 06:33 AM
Brigita McKelvie, Associate Broker
Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd. - Lehigh Valley, PA
The Broker with horse sense and no horsing around


I do find it rude and disrespectful when someone uses their electronic device at a meeting or social event.  On very rare occassions I answer a call during these times. 


Dec 26, 2014 10:19 PM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Now a days some folks think it is rude if you do not text them back immediately or pick up your cell phone when they call you. 

Dec 27, 2014 11:13 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hi, Richard!  You can find this post on today's "Last Week's Favorites".

Dec 27, 2014 11:20 PM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I was recently at lunch with my 22 year old daughter and she got a text. She picked up the phone to respond and I told her she was being rude. I could tell by the look on her face that she was genuinely surprised I thought it was rude. I decided to phrase it another way. I asked her how she would feel if she were sitting with a young man while on a date and he responded to a text? She said it wouldn't be a problem for her. It's normal to respond to texts even if you're with someone else. That makes me sad. I long for the day when I had her undivided attention.

Dec 28, 2014 01:47 AM
Jayne Esposito
Coldwell Banker - Morgan Hill, CA

Well said!!  I don't like it when people text when they are with me, so I don't do it to them.  If it is urgent, I ask if they mind if I respond.  Here at home we have a rule during family time....electronics get tucked away in another room!

Dec 28, 2014 02:19 AM
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

Richard it is still rude to be in a room with people and be so disengaged.  I have a son in law who's head is always bent over his phone.

Dec 28, 2014 03:28 AM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Richard, I actually use this as a marketing strategy for my buyers who want to reconnect with their kids....there's no cell service at Fishhawk Lake!


Dec 28, 2014 04:54 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

It would be tought to be a speaker or a trainer in this day and age. Any classs I have been in EVERYONE is looking at their phones, emailing, texting, etc. Very few are actually looking at the instructor or the speaker.

Dec 28, 2014 11:42 AM
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Reading the comments has made me thankful for my kids (daughter 16, son almost 19). Though they both have unlimited texting...they don't use it that much.  We talk a lot. I am SO  thankful! :)

Dec 28, 2014 12:47 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA

Hi Richard, Pat, featured this on her selections for the week and it was a great choice. I think there is also something else going on beyond what you have mentioned. Insecurity and boredom. People get addicted to the devices to off set being insecure, uncomfortable, embarrased, feelings of inferiority and a host of other reasons. By using the device, they then seem to fit in as most others are doing the same things for the same reasons. Using devices make people feel connected but in fact, they are simply familiar and not actually connected most of the time. Sadly, it has become a replacemant for so many people as a crutch. Most of the conversations are repetetive, redundant and mostly a waste of time and energy. Using the device for business as a way to inform or edify an important event or when a decision is needed is more the exeption than the way most of the use of the devices are actually used by the majority of people.

Dec 28, 2014 01:43 PM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Richard, thank you for pointing the lazer at an offense that every professional should takr steps to eliminate immediately.  "Modern convenience" has become "modern  intrusion."  When a client sets aside their time to meet with me, they should have my undivided attention.  What ever happened to "please leave a message, and I will get back to you shortly?  Text messages are not printted on NCR paper.  They will last long enough for my client at hand to complete their thought.  They got in an automobile, drove to meet me, and are focused on the task at hand.  I make no apology for not stopping them while I read a message from someone sitting on a couch elsewhere.  I will make every effort to respond in a reasonable time frame.  As a child, I was taught that it is rude to but into someone's conversation.  I still listen to my mother, and hope you do.


Richard, these comments are not pointed at you, but to those who think the world must come to a hault when they want someone's attention.  I always loved the old Record-a-call answering machine: you could monitor the incoming call and know the true priority of the call.  Right?

Dec 28, 2014 11:53 PM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

Richard, we've got to fight the good fight - I have no problem telling someone they're being rude or asking that they put their phone away.  I am just as attached to my phone as anyone else for business, but if I'm in company, unless something urgent comes up, my phone is away and usually on silent.

Dec 29, 2014 01:15 AM
Marge Draper
Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto - Menlo Park, CA
REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty, Menlo Park CA

Richard,  I think the most blatant example of technology rudeness happened earlier this year.  I wrote a lease agreement for a renter and he consulted his phone the whole time.  I could barely get him to tear himself away from the phone to answer the questions posed by the agreement.  That being said, I think it's fine to check your phone during a meeting.  Particularly during the boring parts.  ;-) 

Dec 29, 2014 07:58 AM
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Have a happy New Year Richard Weisser at (770) 827-6225 with Better Home and Gardens Real Estate Brokers.

Dec 30, 2014 03:30 AM
Laurie Steinberg
Steinberg Realty Group - East Bridgewater, MA
Steinberg Realty Group | Keller Williams

great post and so true

Dec 30, 2014 11:35 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Richard...society has become more and more like outcasts.

People do not know how to relate to others they meet with out there being tensions about saying something wrong.

Dec 31, 2014 05:30 AM
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

You can aways hope that history will repeat itself I suppose we as humans have evolved over the years and perhaps one day we be likes animals with no sense of control. 

Oct 16, 2015 12:07 PM