In older movies, the plot often builds to a moment where the male lead is running to his female costar to reveal a big piece of news (sometimes known as the “RomCom Run”). The result is a dramatic grand gesture that leads to the woman swooning and an incredibly tightlipped kiss.
Nowadays, the scene is a little different. Imagine: the male lead opens his phone and checks Snapchat to find out her real-time geotagged location. But does he still go to her? It’d be easier to send a text or a chat. What if her social media accounts show that she’s with another guy? Maybe the relationship dies. The story becomes less romantic and more focused on cyberstalking.
Smartphones, for all the good they do, are changing the way we experience life.
Don’t get me wrong, the ability to communicate quickly, to share experiences with others, and to discover new information is incredible. It’s just that, with all of that at our fingertips, it’s easy to be distracted from events happening right in front of us.
Look around the next time you’re at a restaurant. How many larger parties are sitting at a big table surrounded by friends, silently flipping through their phones? What could be a night of catching up and connecting has dissolved into an opportunity to show the world what a fun experience you appear to be having.
The line has blurred between rude and normal, etiquette has changed. Pulling your phone out at the dinner table used to be taboo, now it can add to the conversation or create a silent table. At what point do phones diminish your experience, rather than enhance it?
Planning Moments With and Without Phones
Events are all about the experience. Planners want to create something special that will resonate for years to come. They hope to create a moment.
Increasingly, planners look to include phone use during events. Mobile event apps can add a great deal of value, in terms of informing attendees about program changes and increasing excitement about different sessions. Phones can provide data that leads to greater event insights that help to improve your event. They also increase networking opportunities and facilitate attendee connections.
What if, as an attempt to increase impactful phone use, you create planned moments where technology is encouraged to capture the event and others where phones aren’t allowed to hyperfocus attendees on content? At photo booths and step and repeats, encourage photos to be taken and shared on social media. At exclusive performances, take phones away so attendees can focus solely on the performance.
Create a lasting moment. Don’t be afraid to take phones away. Products like YONDR can help keep phones out of use at important moments. Think of it as a new strategy to enhance the attendee experience. Build phone use into the schedule and have blocks of time where phone use is not only expected but encouraged, as well as times where attendees are forced to go dark.
Read More: Attendees Remember Experiences Not Meetings