Everyone Tweeted Through Deval Patrick’s Speech About Putting Aside One’s Smartphone

He probably saw that coming.

Gov. Deval Patrick had the good sense to make an argument in his Boston University Commencement address that he knew would be proven true even as he spoke the words.

The young people in his life are always on their smartphones, Patrick told the audience Sunday. They’re texting, tweeting, or surfing the internet even as they say they are listening to you. These people, he says, are not fully “present.” Patrick began the address by acknowledging his challenge as a Commencement speaker.

“Seriously giving a commencement address is a high honor but a tough assignment when you know, as I do, that few of you are listening and none of you will remember a single word I say.”

This is not strictly true. Some people will remember what he said because they live-tweeted it as he spoke the words.

Others live-tweeted their observations during the speech.

Are you, though?

Patrick’s concerns with screen use are certainly not original. If there’s one thing clever about them, though, it is that he offered them up in a moment when he knew he’d have evidence for them from the phone-wielding graduates themselves.

As if to hammer home Patrick’s point, BU’s camera frequently cut to shots of graduates in caps and gowns typing away on their phones, oblivious to the irony of their attempts at multi-tasking. Just look at this girl:

So yes, Patrick made his point. Some young people cannot be fully present to listen to something like a graduation speech from their governor. He didn’t bemoan social media’s existence or wish it away. He even seemed to understand that he couldn’t ask the graduates to put aside their phones for the entire course of a graduation speech. Instead, he made a smaller request:

Promise me this one thing. Sometime today, put your tablet and your smartphone aside, look your mom and dad in the eye and tell them you love them. Hold your roommate’s hand and tell them you appreciate them for helping get you through to today… Be present, and see what a difference it makes in your lives and in the world.

#Goodquote. #Deval #Patrick #BUCommencement.