How many times have you been out to dinner with friends and instead of smiling faces found yourself looking at the backs of other people's cell phones? Have you been in a meeting where every other colleague is checking his or her BlackBerry under the lip of the conference table? You certainly know the annoyance of sitting in a theater and being wrested from the charms of an 18th century period film by the trill of a cell phone.
If you've begun to wonder whether you're the last human being on earth who still gives your full attention to the person in your midst rather than to a Google search page, I'm here to tell you you are notalone.
To combat just this sort of behavior, I'm happy to announce that fellow etiquette expert Diane Gottsman and I have launched a campaign aimed at luring our gazes away from LCD screens and back to reality.
Called Thanksgiving Unplugged, this initiative encourages schools, corporations, friends and families to download a pledge whereby they'll have the chance to promise not to use any electronics for the duration of this year's Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of powering up the Xbox or the Wii, the iPad or the Galaxy III, we're encouraging Americans to power up their conversation skills. To enjoy quality time with a niece or nephew. To savor (and be thankful for) a bountiful meal. To break out a board game and test your wits against a sibling or an uncle.
Help us spread the word--especially to schools and corporations. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. And yes, download the pledge and share it with your family. To Diane and me, this doesn't seem like a big ask. I hope you'll agree.
Will you join in our crusade? It's entirely free, but the results (as the ad campaign says) will be priceless.