Monday, September 23, 2013

Do You Really *Need* a Smartphone?

I don't own a smartphone and honestly don't feel as if I *need* one either. I have a clam shell cellphone issued to me for work purposes... but it's far from smart. It makes and receives phone calls, and can text, but that's it, and that's more than enough. The best part about it is that someone else pays the bill. Other than that it's mostly a bother.

I've been alive long enough and survived just about all of it just fine without any cell phone at all, much less a modern smartphone, so I know quite well how to find my way around, how to find out what's going on via other media, and how to communicate sans phone at all. Because of this background it turns out I actually LIKE human interaction AND being completely out of touch. I'm perfectly comfortable in my own skin and listening to nothing more than the sound of my own thoughts, so I don't need to be online 24/7, don't need constant reassurance from others, and find it can be quite nice being completely in the moment with other people without constant phone call interruptions. Given these stipulations it's probably no wonder that I happen to agree with most all of what Louis C.K. said the other night on Conan about modern smartphone "culture" and what it appears to be doing to us and especially modern youth.

Feel free to agree or disagree with me or Louis. It doesn't matter to me in the least. But ask yourself, when was the last time someone disengaged from interacting with you face to face so they could answer their phone? Did it make you wonder who was more important to them at that moment - you, or the unknown entity behind that ring? Ask yourself if it's any wonder that pedestrian accidents are up over 25% in the last few years when so many in crosswalks have their attention buried in a cellphone? And the next time you're out on a typical drive try and count how many drivers you see in other cars texting or reading a cell phone. Do cellphone rings bother you in restaurants, theaters, or in public in general? Do you really enjoy hearing those (often far too loud) telephone conversations (the one side you can hear) in public? How easy is it to ignore them?! Has any of these scenarios just made you wish telephones were just connected to wires again? Do kids seem less engaged to you today than you were with your friends when you were their age? What are the major differences between then and now?

People with iPhones will most likely wildly disagree with all this, and I'm fine with that because I've never been afraid to go against a trend or fad. I think Louis is in this camp too. Judge for yourself. Regardless... I've saved a lot of money on five (5) iPhones as of today... and counting, depending on when you may be reading this.

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