I’m absolutely convinced that we are in danger of breeding an enormous, irreversible fixation. What I see before me is an obsession with a tangible object that continually evolves into something more extraordinary, whilst we mortals merely learn to adapt to it. I’ll ask you a question, and then you can perhaps see where I’m coming from…
Could you go one day without being attached to your smartphone?
I, for one, could not. I’ll admit it. However, I don’t think for one second that I am alone. I believe we’re living in a world where you subconsciously give your undivided attention to this natty little device that fits into your hand and hooks you up to the rest of the world. I’ve run this idea by friends and siblings. (Initially I was a bit dubious to. There was a fear that they’d laugh in my face and tell me to get a grip) But, thankfully, they concurred. We are all addicted.
What is it then about the smartphone that we find so alluring?! Why do I find it so intolerable to go more than an hour without, say, checking my Whatsapp, excitedly discovering who my latest Twitter follower is (they are few and far between so the excitement is necessary, ok?), or downloading the latest “must have” app because, frankly, I feel left out when all my friends have it and I don’t. The fact is there is ALWAYS something to do on your phone. And it is ALWAYS too easy to do so. Even when I’m in work (don’t scorn, you all do it) I can’t resist taking a sneaky peak. Is this normal?! ….Actually, I think it is.
The phone has become more than a device to talk and text with; a far cry from the unadorned Nokia 3310 that we worshipped as young teens. It is now a portal to an array of social networks. It is a 12 mega pixel camera; a video player; a music player; a daily news reel; your personal organiser. And that, I think, this is why it’s so addictive. A smartphone allows us to make our lives more interesting. The world is so much more complex and networked these days, which is why we rely so heavily on the smartphone to keep up. Two taps on the touch screen and you’re in the know about everything. And this is how we like it, right? You hold in your hand something that offers you an infinite stream of possibilities.
Take this morning, for example, before I’d even mustered the energy to rub my sleepy eyes and get out of bed I’d ordered a book from Amazon, sent an email, scanned through the BBC app, checked my bank balance (which I immediately regretted doing) and tweeted about my pending breakfast. Ten years ago, you’d never dare to imagine doing such a thing on a hand-held device. Technology has transformed the phone to something so complex that we have adapted our lives around it, we have bettered ourselves because of the things we are now able to do.
How many people go for, say, a walk in the park and end up taking picturesque photos, editing them, adding some vaguely relevant hashtags, uploading them onto Instagram and awaiting the self aggrandising flood of “likes”-alright, maybe not a flood. .more like a trickle-Anyone?! I can’t be the only one using my smartphone to elevate myself up the social ladder… “ooh I wonder how many likes this picture will get today” “yesssss two retweets and a new follower on Twitter..day made!”(OK I’ve never actually said that out loud, but you catch my drift)
It comes in handy when alleviated the problem of awkward social situations, too. Take solo travel on public transport. Now, unless you’ve seated yourself next to a delightfully chatty old lady (in which case- phone in pocket because she will want a conversation with you), it’s almost inevitable that you occupy yourself with your phone. Sometimes , I know I do it just to avert the eyes of fellow passengers. Or, I do it to tell Twitter that I’m unfortunately seated next to a very handsome chap whose thigh I accidently grazed as I sat down #ohpleasegroundswallowmeup. And sometimes, without a familiar face to converse with, I just reach for the nearest thing I have to a companion..my phone.
In fact, even when I’m in the company of people, I often find myself passionately embracing my phone. It’s not that I’m being ignorant and rude- something I frequently have to assure my Mother..it’s just that I’m engaged in a lively debate on Twitter, or I’m messaging the girlfriends, or I’m updating my CV and applying for a graduate job. Honest. It’s important. (Yeah right, who am I kidding, I’m stalking someone on Facebook).
Is this how it’s going to be from now on? With technology evolving faster than the speed of sound, I can only assume this obsession is going to become more intense. Now, the smartphone is so intertwined in our lives that we can scarcely remember the day when we didn’t have one permanently attached to our hands.
And with that, I am going to make a pact. For those of you still with me at the end of this ramble, you may bear witness to this… I am going to attempt a whole day, A WHOLE 24 HOURS, without my phone. It won’t be in my hand, it won’t be in my pocket or in a convenient cavity in my bag. It will be switched off and out of reach.
I’m already expecting to suffer with serious withdrawal issues and, the sad thing is, I won’t be able to Tweet about it. #sigh
I’ll let you know how it goes..