I missed the memo about smartphones and dumb people.
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.