Smartphones and Dumb People


I missed the memo about smartphones and dumb people.

We've come a long way, baby?

Well, I did it. After resisting for a couple of years, I finally got a smartphone.  I’m slightly techno-phobic so new gadgetry tends to scare me more than entice me. But more and more, I was starting to suspect that I was missing out on this whole world of convenience and connectedness that people with smartphones seemed to be enjoying.  So I got my smartphone, and it was embarrassingly easy to use.  Seriously, my 3-year-old had it figured out in minutes.

I totally get how nifty it is to have internet access in your pocket and all the apps are just ingenious and everything, but I’m not sure I like the side effects of smartphones.  Maybe it was the novelty of it, but the first night I had my new phone, I was answering work e-mails at the dinner table . The idea that I had such easy access to my e-mail made me think for a minute that I actually had to read and respond to them immediately.  But then I remembered that I am neither a workaholic nor an asshole, so I’ve since banished the phone during meals and other sacred family times.

The blessing and curse of smartphones is that they allow for a lot accessibility and spontaneity.  I remember an era that when you called someone, it was always on a phone that was firmly affixed to a wall in their house and if they weren’t home or they were talking to someone else, dem was da berries.  Now, you can call, text, Skype, e-mail, IM, or find them on Twitter or Facebook, or whatever the social media site de jour might be.  Modern people are imminently accessible and consequently we don’t get a moment’s peace, I think.   I find I love movie theatres and airplanes more and more these days because they’re the only places that I feel free from the cell phone tether.

And spontaenity….I suppose it’s a good thing that smartphones allow us to make plans on the fly.  We can coordinate with friends, last-minute, look up restaurants, buy tickets, get directions, etc., etc. But I kinda like planning and certainty, so “playing it by ear” is not my forte.  I like making plans and having all the details and logistics sorted out well in advance, but then again I do need to lighten up.

The thing I think is really funny and just a little tragic about smartphones, or mobile phones more generally, is that even though they’re supposed to ensure that we stay connected, they do seem to alienate people from each other, at least in some instances. Did you hear about this study in which it was determined that lots of people use their phones to actively avoid other people?  I know I’ve done it.  Even though I like talking to strangers, sometimes, if I’m feeling awkward or shy, I’ll just get out my phone and do something useless so I don’t have to engage with the people around me.

On the whole, I have to admit that the advent of smartphone technology is pretty amazing and I am glad I have one now. But I just don’t want to my smartphone to make me dumb….


I’m not sure who this guy is, but I found this video on the interwebs, and to him, I say, PREACH!  and memo received.

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9 thoughts on “Smartphones and Dumb People

  1. Carol (middle-aged-diva) August 18, 2011 / 2:29 pm

    I agree. I totally get it, even though I’ve had a smartphone forever. Yesterday I was on vacation HERE–one of the most gorgeous places in the world.

    http://middle-aged-diva.blogspot.com/2011/08/into-mystic-pt-lobos-on-monterey.html

    and heard my phone go off with emails. Since it was on, I found myself not only taking these pix with my phone but standing on a trail emailing them to myself and others. Sick stuff. I am going to quit doing stuff like that right now.

    • Jamie Walker Ball August 18, 2011 / 2:40 pm

      Yeah, I think the danger is that being able to connect with everthing and everyone at the touch of an icon can take us out of the present moment a little too much. But those are some gorgeous pictures; I love Monterey!

  2. The Chloe Chronicles August 21, 2011 / 2:45 am

    Isn’t it weird that in this aged of connectedness we can feel so disconnected? . I must admit to feeling a little out of the loop at BlogHer as everyone around me was busy checking their twitter feeds and tweeting their tweeps back home. I’m sure it’s how the people with stone tablets felt upon meeting up with the people who had papyrus.

    • Jamie Walker Ball August 21, 2011 / 3:06 am

      Exactly! I had my Droid at BlogHer and in terms of connecting with other folks, I don’t know if it helped or hurt. I was able to do a bit of tweeting (which is a medium of which I have no mastery) but mostly it kinda bugged me to see people with their eyes on their phones instead of the faces of the people around them.

  3. The Chloe Chronicles August 21, 2011 / 3:16 am

    At Pathfinder Day with Ree Drummond and Katheryn Finney I was shocked, shocked I tell you, how many people were on facebook and twitter and never even seemed to look up at the speakers they’d paid good money to hear. I mean, seriously? What could possibly be happening on fb that is more important than listening to what The Pioneer Woman and The Budget Fashionista have to say?

    It reminds me of the busloads of Japanese tourists who stop at a beach in Hawaii and take a bazillion pictures of the ocean but never put their feet in the sand.

  4. Jeff Hall September 9, 2011 / 8:43 pm

    That Gordon Gekko phone is AWESOME! That Motorola weighed 47 pounds and cost 238,000 dollars. American dollars.

    • Jamie Walker Ball September 9, 2011 / 8:56 pm

      Bwhhahahahahahahaha!

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