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Do You Waste Time Like a U.S. Senator?


Is it wrong to like a politician more when you catch him wasting tax payer money? The Washington Post’s photo of John McCain playing poker on his iPhone during a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing was oddly endearing.

iphone game 

(Photo Credit: SigridHazelwood/Flickr)

Then again, maybe we’re just susceptible to spin. After getting busted, McCain tweeted:

Do You Know What You're Worth?

McCain playing poker on his iPhone 

(Screen Capture: The Washington Post)

Later, McCain told CNN: “as much as I like to and always listen in rapt attention constantly [to] remarks of my colleagues over a three and a half hour period, occasionally I get a little bored. … But the worst thing about it is I lost thousands of dollars in this game.” (NPR points out that they are, at least, fake dollars.)

Although there aren’t any stats on how many of us, exactly, play games on our phones during meetings, apps analytics firm Flurry says that smartphone users typically spend two hours and 38 minutes a day on their phones, 32 percent of which is spent playing games. It’s not a stretch to say that some users are slinging cartoon animals and putting together killer hands of cards during company time.

Depending on which expert you ask, it might not even be such a bad thing. Matthew Gwyther, editor of Management Today, tells BBC News that while looking at your phone during a meeting is rude, it doesn’t necessarily have to affect your productivity. If you’re already up to speed on the material being covered, he says, “why not keep your brain sharp with a game of poker?”

Still, it’s important to keep appearances in mind. Even if you’re able to concentrate on the agenda and play Angry Birds at the same time, the meeting leader doesn’t know that. And sometimes, being polite is the smartest thing you can do, professionally speaking.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you play smartphone games in meetings? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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