Tech and Turkey Day: Thanksgiving tips for a better holiday experience

Thanksgiving in these United States is historically a time for people of different backgrounds and beliefs to come together to enjoy each other’s company and conversation over a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Or so the greeting card companies would have us believe! In reality, it’s one of the most stressful days of the year as family (who have been avoiding each other all year) are forced into the same room. Diverse opinions and preferences clash. Tempers soar. Words are said. Feelings are bruised. Eventually more than a few go home vowing to write off their family completely.

Or is that just Thanksgivings that I’ve attended? (Just in case my mom is reading, I’m kidding! My family gets along swimmingly!)

Regardless, there are certain things that you should – and shouldn’t – do to help get along with people who use different tech than you do when you’re forced into a crowded room with them.

Respect Differences

Apple-think-differentAndroid is an amazing operating system with a rich ecosystem.

iOS is an amazing operating system with a rich ecosystem.

Windows Phone, WebOS, Blackberry, (insert your preferred mobile OS here) are amazing operating systems with rich ecosystems.

(See where I’m going with this?)

Every OS and platform has advantages (and disadvantages) when compared to another. Does that make it better (or worse) than any other OS? NO! It simply means it’s different. Different is a good thing! It drives innovation and creativity. It fills niches that others don’t, while leaving still more open for others.

If you embrace this singular concept with your mobile electronics your technological problems will diminish. Embrace it in your life and you’ll find yourself living in a better world.

Whoa! Sorry to wax philosophical there. Back on point!

Don’t criticize someone else’s choices. Hopefully they won’t criticize yours. Enjoy what you have, don’t be embarrassed by it, and don’t embarrass others because they (with their collective life experiences) made a different decision than you did (based on your collective live experiences).

Embrace Similarities

in-my-bag-cablesRegardless of OS, platform, or form-factor, we all have similar needs! If you’re hosting this shindig, make sure you have your guest WiFi network set up and ready to go. Post the SSID and the guest password clearly and conspicuously so your guests can come in and log on with ease.

Sure, they could all use their data (whether that’s Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, or someone else), but while they’re at your place, they’re family, make sure their phones and tablets feel at home, too!

At some point everyone is going to need to plug in. Make sure you have surge protectors and USB chargers handy and available! This will go a long way toward telling your relatives (and their “plus ones”) that they’re welcome (well, that and the free food). You may not have the cable they need, but a handful of standardized cables (micro-USB and Lightning cables) would be advisable to have on-hand. People with other ports on the bottom of their devices may need to supply their own cable, but hey, you tried, right?

Don’t be a Distraction

instagram-for-windows-phone-walkthroughThere’s nothing worse than a party where everyone has their nose buried in their phone! Use your phone to help make memories, not avoid them.

Encourage the Social

There’s nothing wrong with using your phone during festivities, just keep it relevant to the party. Snap pictures, take videos. Use your device to enhance the party, not distract yourself from it.

Regardless of your platform, we all hang out on the same social networks. On that WiFi sign I mentioned earlier, why not include a #hashtag for guests to use when talking about the party. Tweeting, posting pictures to Instagram, and making mention on Facebook or Google+ with content tagged with the same hashtag will help everyone in attendance (and those who were unable to make it) share pics, videos, and thoughts, and relive the memories after the day has passed.

Ultimately, technology is supposed to build bridges and bring us all closer together. Hopefully these tips will help toward that goal.

We’re interested in what tips you’ve got for us! Head down to the comments (before you head out on the road) and let us know what secrets you’ve got up your sleeve to make Turkey Day enjoyable, and why not add an “@pocketnow” to some of your favorite holiday posts so we can see them, too?

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.