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Grandma, put down the iPad and come back to dinner

November 24, 2010

It’s Thanksgiving! That universally loved, largely politically correct holiday where all Americans stop to give thanks for the blessings of the year past. While it’s not my favorite holiday it certainly ranks near the top, for its near total lack of commercialization (consumer culture prefers to start Christmas that much earlier rather than bothering to commercialize Thanksgiving) and focus on family.

As a social media maven, I’ll be looking to the web to provide me a lot of help this holiday – from wine specials to grocery store applications to online coupons, the web and social media can be a real help to any multi-tasking this holiday season. But as today turns to tomorrow and my thoughts turn to turkey and stuffing, I’ll be doing something remarkable in this digital age – putting down my Blackberry and focusing on fellowship and conversation.

I thoroughly appreciate how social media has integrated into our lives in positive ways. But even as a social media lover I can resent how it also intrudes. As much as many in the D.C. area seem to think so, I disagree that it’s appropriate to check your Blackberry during dinner. Such tethering to technology should be the exception, not the rule. I also fully expect my children to participate in conversation when out in public with me – ear buds and texting fingers will not be allowed. I’m a strong believer in the power of the dinner table – and the importance of families gathering together to talk, connect, and break away from other distractions.

The idea of a digital vacation is nothing new – even the most connected social media users I know will opt for the occasional break. I don’t think it needs to be as formal as a pre-announced media fast, but something as basic as a Thanksgiving dinner long hiatus is certainly something we could all use.

Happy Thanksgiving. Now stop reading this blog and go eat some pie, already.

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