“George… George… GEORGE!” yelled my wife Yvonne in the middle of the restaurant as I stared into the small backlit screen held in my hand, “You’re supposed to be having dinner with me… Not checking up on your Twitter Timeline.”

Ever since I got my new Android Smartphone to replace my Blackberry Curve, I’ve been spending more and more time playing with my phone, following up on what my social media contacts are up to and “away from my friends and family.”

I wasn’t always like that…

It’s happening more and more often…  I’ll be at the table having a friendly conversation when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, someone will call my name and “snap me out” of the trance I’ve fallen into as I simply stopped mid-sentence to perform some task on my Smartphone.

Even though I am a proud, always plugged-in, self proclaimed web technology Geek… Having dealt with the limited selection of Apps on my BB Curve, meant that I really didn’t have many different options of things to do with my Smartphone other than Email, Texting, Blackberry Messaging, basic web surfing, a few not very exciting games and making phone calls.

As a result of the “lack of options”, I could feel comfortable in being “fully there” for my friends and family whenever I went to a restaurant or casual gathering.

Then I upgraded my Smartphone to an Android device and everything changed


Little did I know my beloved Blackberry which I worshiped for over 2 years was merely a “gateway” device to heavier, more “intoxicating” mobile experiences.

With Android (iPhone with its wide array of mobile apps is guilty as well of this…) – the huge selection of mobile Applications that do all sorts of cool, fun and “now that I know I can do that – I can’t live without it” programs is simply mind blowing.

So… Ever since trading in my BB Curve, I have been non-stop customizing and loading my Android powered Atrix with all sorts of “valuable” programs that enhance and “augment” my reality.

Because of this I am now constantly checking user reviews of all sorts of things while on location, looking at all available Augmented Reality layers, checking in at all sorts of different places, leaving tips, uploading photos… You name it.

Having my new Android phone is a Web Guy’s dream come true.

(In all fairness to Blackberry, I could technically check-in to Foursquare with my Curve but that’s about all I could do with it.)

This is where the problem rears its ugly head…

All these different Smartphone activities and “virtual enhancements” take time away from life in the real world.

Like my wife says, I’m only half the time “here” in the “real world”… the rest of my time, I spend it plugged into the small screen of my mobile device or tablet.

By the way… not to mention that whenever I’m home, I spend a large portion of my time in front of a computer screen, inside my “virtual world” and taking care of my “virtual friends” and online network… (Well that and playing Angry Birds 🙂 )

My guess is that I am not alone in this tug of war between “Real reality” and the “augmented reality” delivered by a “Smartphone.”

Am I right or am I simply going crazy?

Are you going through a similar struggle between your virtual self powered by mobile technology and the real you?


Music video by Lifehouse performing Halfway Gone. (C) 2009 Geffen Records

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