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Phubbing is a term created by the combination of the words phone and snubbing. It refers to a person interactiing with their phone (or other device) rather than interacting with a human being. The use of this, and other terms around mobile device use, showcases a growing issue with different kinds of technology, including the delicate balance of sharing time and attention when facing two very different interactions at the same time.
The origin of the term phubbing is attributed to a campaign from the McCann Melbourne company in 2012, when grassroots groups started to promote so-called polite use of mobile devices. Many have observed people snub each other through technology use, and how businesses and public spaces often discourage some kind of device use. For example, a restaurant or bar might put up a sign asking people to respect the atmosphere and be social in their real environment, rather than snapping, texting and tweeting their way through the night.
About a year into the stop phubbing campaign, positive results showed that many people were paying attention to how others use their devices, and how to sustain and promote human interaction in all kinds of different venues and spaces. From family dinners or intimate meals to reunions and public events, and in the workplace, the anti-phubbing campaign is very relevant to situations where people feel marginalized by the virtual world inside wireless and IP networks. Looking closer at these campaigns shows more about how humans are adapting to new technology in a very different kind of social world that is more and more digitized and less and less connected to the physical "meat space," a popularized term for actual face-to-face social settings.