Well are you?
If a text message comes in, does your world immediately grind to a stop so you can read it?
If a call comes in at a bad time (say, while you’re on a roller coaster), can you marshal the strength to ignore it, or will you succumb to the siren song of your ring tone?
When you sit at a restaurant waiting for lunch, is the urge to check your e-mail so overwhelming that, to quote the Borg (Star Trek) “resistance is futile”? (Never mind the fact that you just checked it before you left)
I see it all the time – smart phone addiction. And I truly think most people don’t even realize they’re addicted. (Isn’t denial the first symptom?)
Who am I to preach about this? I’m an outside observer to the smart phone world, much to the annoyance of anyone who tries to contact me regularly. Although I have a Droid, it doesn’t rule my life. In fact, most days it’s a coin toss as to whether it’s even with me (frustrates the snot out of my office staff, but hey, that’s what I pay ‘em for).
On those occasions it does find a place in my pocket, I am just as likely to ignore an incoming call as to take it (hey, if it’s important they can leave me a voicemail).
Again, just ask my staff to call me sometime
Overall, I participate in less than 20 cellular calls a month and between my two hands I have enough fingers to count the number of text messages I thumb out each year. I will admit to using it to check e-mail, but that’s mostly when I’m on the road and don’t feel like booting up my laptop.
Mostly I use it as a portable computer – I have a handful of apps that help me with my business, exercise (GPS distance tracking), and my photography. But even those don’t enjoy regular usage. The phone is a tool, that’s all. I use it when I need it.
However, I think a growing majority of people have started to think of their wireless phone less as a tool and more as a form of addictive entertainment. After all, when was the last time you saw a 22 yr old girl driving alone without a cell phone stuck to her ear? A unicorn running down the freeway would be more likely.
Just sit back next time you’re at a restaurant or the mall and observe what happens when people have more than a minute or two of downtime to kill. Heck, you already know what happens – the phone comes out. They may send a text message, they might play a game, maybe check the latest news (you know, in case something earth-shattering has happened since they last looked – 5 minutes ago) – ANYTHING to keep from being the slightest bit bored for 30 seconds.
Seems like startlingly high percentage of people simply can no longer cope unless they have something to keep them entertained. And phones do this exceeding well. Too well in fact.
Case in point -Do you fly? Ever notice what happens when the plane lands? A hundred cell phones spring to life. Text messages are zipped off, Twitter and Facebook are ablaze with accounts of the flight, restroom lines, etc., calls are made, and you can almost feel the collective sigh of relief from the addicted. Ahh, my phone is one again…
Let’s look at the types of addiction:
First off, there’s the text addict – easy to spot due to the large, overdeveloped thumbs and the tendency to look ever so slightly cross eyed. The “Bliiip” of an incoming text message is like crack cocaine to ‘em. There’s no way to resist, and they wouldn’t want to try.
Personally, I’d like to grab their phone at the moment of notification. It would be interesting to see how long they could resist committing some kind of felony against me to get their phone back. I mean, is the message coming across really that important? Does it really demand the amount of urgent attention it seems to get? Really? I’m a firm believer that 90% or more of the text messages that scamper across cell phone screens are pure fluff. How do people get so terribly addicted?
Then there’s the internet junkie. They spend hours at a time on the computer at home, so these internet-enabled smart phones are a way for them to leave the house without developing those embarrassing withdrawal symptoms. They are in an unending loop of constantly checking sites for the latest news, sports, weather, forum updates, and who knows what else. Sure, if they’re visiting WorldStart we can forgive ‘em, but if not, what could possibly be so important that it commands so much of their attention?
Speaking of the internet group, there’s a sub group of Facebook and Twitter fans that seem to think the world actually cares that the $20 hamburger they just scarfed down at Disneyland gave them heartburn. I think I speak for everyone when I say we can live without every detail of your life. Really, we can.
Hmm.. Who’s next? Oh, yeah, the game crowd. They are forever downloading this game or that game, and tend to play any time there’s a few spare seconds to kill. Talking to them is a real pleasure, isn’t it?
You: “How’s it going?”
You: “I asked how it was going.”
Gamer (fingers scrambling around screen): “Sorry?”
You: “Forget it”
Oh, yeah, almost forget – the cell phone addict group. The ranks of this group are shrinking by the hour, but there are still a few holdouts completely fascinated by the fact you can make phone calls from just about anywhere with your phone. And they take advantage of those unlimited minutes at each and every opportunity. Unfortunately, those opportunities do don’t disappear once they are inside a public bathroom stall. Maybe I’m spending too much time on the road lately, but bathroom stall teleconferences are starting to get tiresome.
OK, OK, maybe I’m being a bit harsh (still not backing down on that bathroom thing though), and although It seems like I’ve taken the long slow backroad to it, I am coming to a point.
Aren’t WE supposed to be the masters of these things? Aren’t they supposed to be at OUR service?
Of course, these phones CAN and do make life easier, and I’m glad to have mine. However, I don’t I like what they’ve done to people. It’s amazing to me – people spend all kinds of time planning a vacation, a getaway, or an outing – only to spend it ignoring everyone and everything around them so they can play with their stupid phones.
I’ve literally watched people in a national park stroll by an amazing vista, completely absorbed with what was on the screen of their phone. Earbuds in place, eyes glued to the screen, missing everything happening around them.
Last time I checked, life was for living, not for sending text messages.
So, if you think you might be addicted, try this – leave your phone at home for a week. If that sentence seems about as outrageous as me suggesting you swan dive from an 80 foot cliff, you my friend are addicted to your phone. Seek therapy.
I promise you, there’s more to life than what’s contained in that little 2×3 inch screen of yours. Take a week off and check out the real world. It’s the best, most immersive, life-like 3D experience you’ll ever have.
So, what’s your take on all this? Have I taken one too many dives in the shallow end of the pool or am I right on the money?
Or did I lose you back there at the hands of an incoming text message…
This entry was posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 10:34 am and is filed under Modern Technology, smartphones. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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