What can we learn from Mad Men?

gkbrand_madmenNo, it’s not that we can have mistresses in the city while our wives nervously gossip with neighbors (more on Mad Men in future posts) – but it’s that maybe this whole technology thing isn’t that necessary. Who’s with me?

Granted, I love working on my MacBook outside, catching some free WiFi while surfing Twitter to see what Ashton Kutcher is up to, but really – do we need it all? What is our obsession with constantly being connected to each other, without truly being connected? Do we fear isolation, or are we that important that we can’t be more than a Tweet away?

Don’t believe me? Ok – let’s look at some social situations technology has absolutely, and utterly destroyed.

You can’t go out to dinner without someone checking messages, sending a text, or feeling the vibration of a phone on the table as you pepper your dipping oil. It’s not a manners issue, I don’t mind if you belch after downing your Whisky Sour. Actually, I’d prefer that than hearing you yell the cross-streets of our watering hole into your microscopic speaker. It’s the digital age of table manners, and something has to be done to stop it.

What else you ask? Going to the movies. What used to be a family / date / Sunday morning after a rough Saturday night event has turned into a large collection of people talking, texting, tweeting and yes, mobbing away. Why don’t you save the $10.50 and just NetFlix the movie straight to your computer? Facebook stalk your high-school sweetheart in the comfort of your own home!

gkbrand_gpsLastly, and let this one sink in before you judge me; no one will ever get lost again. I’ll repeat that – no one will EVER (think Sandlot when saying EVER), get lost again. Why would we? How could we? We have GPS on our phones, and as a fail safe, it’s in your new car too. Remember when you were younger, and you took an unexpected right turn just to see where it takes you?

As I step down from my soapbox, I’ll say this – we all know that technology definitely has its advantages (Doctors, Educators, Governments, Boutique Creative Agencies), but what I am suggesting is an escape, a temporary getaway from it all.

For the past several months, I have done an isolated focus group, on myself. Each Friday when I pack up the office for the weekend, I turn off my phone. Yes, there are some occasions when I need to use it during the weekend, but try it. Make plans, and stick to them.

If your friends change the bar/restaurant you were supposed to meet at, go with it – you’ll be surprised whom you’ll meet as you wait. They’ll eventually find you. Facebook wont miss you, and suddenly, things will seem less – digital. The grass becomes greener, sky becomes bluer, clouds become, well you get where I am going.

Instead of shaking your App to decide a new place to eat, explore the city with your friends, venture into un-chartered territory. I promise – the conversations you will have, the new things you will see, and the unexpectedness of the night will make up for the sore feet in the morning.

– Dan Romanow

Daniel Romanow is the Group Director at gkBRAND

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