You're out for drinks with friends. Suddenly, you notice the silence. You look up from your phone to find everyone else staring at theirs. Were this performance art, you would likely call it “Studies in Social Estrangement at Larry's Tavern.”
Or perhaps you have a friend who spends hours each day wading through tweets, ready to engage in a dogfight or pounce with a clever parry, hoping against hope to reach the zenith of Twitter stardom: a retweet from a minor celebrity.
For you and your friends, Minnesota state Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes) offers some widsom: None of this is good for you.
He's authored a bill that would force social media companies to include warnings – similar to those on packs of cigs – every time you log into your account. The message would alert users to the site's addictiveness, noting that inordinate use “may lead to mental health disorders, reduced productivity, lack of sleep, and social alienation.”
The same warning would be given to everyone who buys a cell phone.
Chamberlain's not so much worried about you. You're already a lost cause. But he is concerned for coming generations who will go through life staring at their phones, bonking into light poles and strolling on to freeways.
“The industry’s either going to have to be proactive, or we will continue doing this to protect kids from the intentional harm that these applications and these products are causing,” he told Fox 9.
The senator admits his bill likely won't get a hearing this session. And he still must get support from his Republican colleagues, who tend not to cotton to anything that goes against business or carries the scent of the dreaded nanny state.
But Facebook appears to be taking his bill seriously. Two weeks ago, it officially registered to lobby Minnesota legislators.