Prediction: “Unplugging” will be a trend among 40+ crowd in 2015

There’s a Starbucks that’s less than a mile from my house. To say I visit it frequently is probably an understatement. The baristas know me and my drinks by name. It’s sad, really.

I’m usually visiting this Starbucks during the morning rush. During that time, the line can extend out the door (side rant: Only in Minnesota). Point is: there’s usually a long line.

And people in that line are often on their phones (another common situation you see below–had to playfully pick on my PRSA friends just a bit :). In fact, I’d say a full 90 percent of the people are looking down at their phones while in line. 9 out of 10 people! And, I’d also say, given the demographics of our neighborhood (this Bux is RIGHT next to a school) that most of these folks at 40-plus.

Put Phones Away

Strangely enough, I’m usually the one in 10 persons who’s NOT on their phone. I do it so much during the day, I’ve learned to find my breaks. Standing in line is a break for me.

I got to chatting with a gentleman the other day about this ongoing habit of people standing in line staring at their phones. His lament was the same as mine: If these people would just look up they might discover an interesting person to talk to in line. I know I certainly did that day.

And my local Starbucks certainly isn’t the only place this is happening. On the bus. On the train. In the grocery store. At the movies. It’s certainly no revelation that people are just completely hard-wired to their phones these days.

But I’m making a bold prediction: Among the 40+ crowd, I think you’re going to see a faction of people resist being tethered to their phones in 2015.

And by “resist”, I mean “unplug.”

Not all the time, but they are going to make a conscious effort to unplug when standing in line. When they’re on the train. When they’re driving for crying out loud.

Because enough is enough.

You see, I’m singling out that 40-plus crowd because, well, frankly, this is weird for us.

We didn’t grow up with cell phones. Heck, we didn’t even grow up with email (for the most part–I was 22 when I started using email).  So, we don’t have the long and storied history with technology that today’s Millennials do.

So, I believe it will be easier for us to give up technology (just a bit) than our younger cohorts–even if it is for smaller chunks at a time.

Because that’s what it will be. Smaller chunks.

Not checking your phone while in line.

Resisting the urge to post that pic of that beautiful sunset to Instagram (guilty here–as recently as last week!).

And, not checking in on Facebook as often–for no real reason.

I think people in the 40+ group are reaching a tipping point. Just a hunch really–I don’t have any scientific facts to back this prediction up.

Just call is a gut hunch of a 42-year-old who’s a bit burnt out himself…

Note: Photo courtesy of Heather Cmiel.

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6 comments on “Prediction: “Unplugging” will be a trend among 40+ crowd in 2015

  1. KarenD.Swim says:

    From a 50 soon to 50+ year old, I concur! I would have missed out on so many wonderful random encounters if I kept my head in the phone all the time. It is sad that so many confine life to a small screen and miss out on the larger world around them.

  2. Danny Brown says:

    I really hope they do, mate – and not just 40+ year olds, but people in general.
    I made a conscious decision back in 2010 to really pull back on where I was, and how often. It’s no coincidence that came around the time of the birth of my son. When his sister came along in 2012, I pulled back even more.
    Now, I probably blog around once a week, maybe twice. I switched to a newsletter format versus instant updates, so people could relax and read in their own quiet time, if they wanted to. I rarely jump on Twitter for extended periods, nor Facebook, nor G+. LinkedIn? Forget about it.
    On the way to the office, it’s a deliberate decision to sit on the train, and watch the world out the window. How the sun rises a certain way; how the early morning light tells different stories in different cities; how parks are filled with people enjoying the quiet time with their dogs.
    The always on world of the smartphone can be a huge boon when needed; but it can also be the very bane of our existence.
    We’re called human beings for a reason – let’s “be human” and untether the tech. If even just for a while each day. It’s a start – and that can change everything.
    Thanks for the thoughts this morning.

  3. Danny Brown says:

    KarenD.Swim Right? If you think the latest iPhone has a hi-def screen, wait until you get a load of the real world beyond it! 😉

  4. allenmireles says:

    I think you may be onto something here, Arik. I find myself unplugging over the weekends and more and more often during the day, as work and the demands of real-people-in-front-of-me take precedence. (And I’m waaay older than you are, so I fit into the + part of that equation.)

    It isn’t that I don’t still love tech, don’t still drool over the next shiny thing and don’t wish I could learn more-faster-better. I just also appreciate the non-tech world of nature and beguiling idiosyncrasies of the humans and animals I love.

    Good post. This should be fun to watch unfold, yes?

  5. AlisonKenney says:

    I agree and think that we’ll become less interested in some of the online channels that are compelling right now. As Facebook and Twitter (and other social media channels) become more and more automated and brand-centered, they’ll start to feel more similar and less like the shiny object that we must check constantly.

  6. BrianKennett says:

    I agree as well Aric. Two years ago, I would have gotten the shakes if I wasn’t near my phone. Now, I continually find myself setting it down for longer and longer periods of time. I’ve even taken to turning it off (or on Do Not Disturb) at times during the evening or at night. Not THAT often, mind you, but it’s a start.