|My Samsung phone, because I’m too cheap for an iPhone|
Let me complete that thought – would you ever ditch your smartphone and go back to just a flip phone?
No constant online access. No email checking, instagraming, facebook check-in. None of that, gone forever. I’m not saying to ditch the phone entirely, because you never know when you might need to call or text, but that’s all you get to do.
A few years ago, I got a smartphone, and it was a glorious. It encompassed a whole new set of skills, a different technological vocabulary. I watched endless youtube videos to see if I could figure out how to root it. It was the small start of a minor revolution.
Jump forward a few years, and smart phones are no longer de rigueur, but the norm. Everyone has one. Everyone’s mom* has one. Most people have an iPhone. People gather in the dark, camping overnight, for a phone. Whenever I ride bus, I’m one of the few people looking around. Everyone else is riding on digital waves, cocooned between headphones, fingers gaming, eyes fixed to screens. Lately, I’ve seen people with an entire laptop, clicking away like they’re alone at home. Except for the small fact that it’s rush hour and they’re on a bus. Next to me. That corporate logo looks great, BTW.
Is this a bad thing?
That’s the obvious question. Good or bad? Well, I’m not going to talk about whether throwing your smartphone in the eTrash is good or bad. If you want a straightforward case study, that’s better handled by this article. There, that should scare some sense into you.
No, what appeals to me is the idea of keeping a part of you, to you. Of being free. Smartphones, while providing endless fun and enjoyment, are also a personal anvil. I know it weighs less than a pound. That’s not what I’m talking about. Here are all the ways I’ve compromised my life for my phone: Sprint offers pissy, piss-poor reception, and I have wasted countless hours of my sanity waiting for lame images to load. I always have to think about keeping my phone charged. I have an external battery that I carry around “just in case,” which happens to mean every single day. There are only three major phone plan providers out there: Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Most of the other carriers run on the network of one of the big three. I will always be beholden** to one of these three corporate giants. Even if I get a flip phone. There’s no avoiding it. However, there is an associated mentality that goes along with being beholden, the belief that a phone, particularly a smart phone, is a “necessity.” Electricity, a flushing toilet, and a roof are necessities. A smart phone need not be.
What I’ve also noticed with the advent of the Age of the iPhone is that I know too much about most people. It’s human nature to be inquisitive. There was at one point an evolutionary imperative to be nosy. Now, however, we are drowning in personal information. It almost makes every individual piece of information, every picture, less valuable if you know another picture is soon to be coming down the pike. There are no room left for mystery. i guess the proper question here is: how well do you want others to know you? How about complete strangers? I know we live in a world of personal branding. You put your name next to your product, and you stand by it. I personally want only a small group of people to know me, and that’s all. I’ve never wanted to know more about the author of the book I was reading. I respected them too much.
The third point, is to ditch your smart phone as an act of social defiance. That’s all. Everyone else is doing this, so why should I follow where countless others have gone before? It’s the path of the creative mind to move outside of established patterns, sometimes to move backward when others are charging forward, and to question in the face of overriding truth.
My phone contract’s not up yet. But I’m thinking hard about this idea. I’m not sure if I have the strength.***
* Except mine. It’s a point of pride.
** Beholden, AKA paying a monthly fee
** So I will read this one more time: The Coolest Girl You Know Probably Uses a Flip Phone