10.22.2014

A Dumb-Phone Life: A Comment on the Connected Life

 
In the marketing world, I'd be known as a 'late adopter'.

When we segment and profile customers in the industry, people like myself are given a little dunce cap and a pat on the back. There's a 'bless them, they'll get there eventually' mentality. We're not the target demographic for anything innovating. A product is launched, and we watch, warily, from the undergrowth. Will it flop? Is it worth the money? We watch thousands of other individuals exchange money for goods - an extended beta test - before we part with our cash. For me, it's an upbringing thing. Any trend must be firmly established before I shell out. It took me two years to believe in the power of the playsuit.

I was certainly late to the party with a Smart Phone. I got my first last December, over six years after the iPhone first graced our lives. It was a Samsung Galaxy S3. It's a damn good phone, don't get me wrong. It is relatively cheap (£180 from argos), attractive, light, and does all you could possibly wish for. I'm definitely a fan of an Android operating system; it's nimble, accessible, and compatible. It links to google applications like a dream.


You may have wondered why I've been so quiet.... sadly, my whole handbag was stolen on Saturday night in a moment of weakness. I lost my house keys, bike lock keys, purse, licence, debit card, nectar card, rail card and phone in one fell swoop. My bike key is the thing I'm currently missing the most; I can't cycle to work at the moment! But, a close second is my mobile phone.

the night was definitely worth it
  Scrolling, Swiping ZOmbie

As a user of twitter and instagram, my phone had been in my hand 24/7 since the day I got it. If I wasn't texting or sending Whatsapps (best app ever, by the way) I was flicking idly through reams of Pinterest or Instagram images, double-tapping as I went.

I hate to sound cliché, but I really did feel connected. I also really felt inspired. Surely it was productive, this behaviour, this constant interior-design voyeurism? It was helping me develop my own sense of style, encouraging me to make decisions about my home, informing me of trends and looks.
It wasn't. I was wasting hours watching someone else's life unfold. Mine was being wiled away in the meantime.
It's taken me some time away from the screen to realise what my phone was really doing to me. I was just another social-media zombie. T & I have spent too many evenings scrolling on our smartphones, side-by-side. We might be holding hands but we're not really 'together'. Truly joyful moments can't occur in the realms of the internet - and paticularly the passive internet.

Do I really need another smartphone?I'm sorry to say that yes, I do. Without one, I am a little at sea when it comes to arranging plans. It also makes blogging and recording moments like nights out very difficult. I'm saving up for one at the moment - though I'm not in a rush. 
When we were in Croatia, I turned my phone off for the entire week. Was I any poorer for being off the grid for a week? No. If anything, my experience in the Baltics was enriched. I read, I talked, I experienced the things in front of me and didn't just see them through an instagram filter. 
I hope that I'll approach my next phone in a more restrained way. Perhaps I'll turn it off when I'm socialising, or at home in the evening, and only turn it on for a specific use.

Has anyone had any luck weaning themselves off the smartphone? I'd love to hear about it.

All the best,
Sarah