Published: 25 January 2016
I have spent the past 3 months without a smart phone and I can only describe the experience as being forced against my will to emulate Bill Murray’s character in Lost In Translation. I spent many a day travelling to and from London amongst a sea of commuters who had fallen victim to smartphone addiction. I am now happily reunited with technology, but looking back I can’t underestimate the feelings of deprivation and impairment I went through as a result of being disconnected from the grapevine. In this blog, I’m going to take an uncomfortable but worthwhile trip down memory lane.
So why no smart phone? I’m going to be honest, I fell victim to the easy mistake of taking my smartphone for granted and lost my handset on an enjoyable night out. It unfortunately involved borrowing a little bit too much happiness from tomorrow than I had originally planned to. When I lost my smartphone, I was more than a little scared. As a Project Manager and a social individual my device was a pillar, which supported both my professional career and social life.
In the coming months I discovered that this was all a facade, my social life did not diminish in the slightest and you could say it even somewhat improved. Without constant access and involvement in social media, I stopped wasting my time looking for mild gratification and acceptance through websites such as Facebook and Twitter. When spending time with friends in person I actually engaged with them in conversation, rather than reading into their morphed online persona through status updates and selfies.
More importantly I became at least 100% more productive in both my professional and social life. To explain this, I’d like to work around the statement that “Your cell phone used to be your friend. Since they have become ‘smart’, they are no longer your friend anymore.” Back before the days of the smartphone you would use a smartphone as a tool for your own benefit, whether this was to organise a meet up with friends or for an emergency.
Since then, smartphones are no longer just about us. This change has taken place as they have become more commonplace and as technology has advanced. The premise of a smartphone is now to encompass every aspect of your life into a single device, which can be reached by anyone. Your smartphone is no longer your friend. It has become a tool for clients, family, friends, banks, insurance reps and strangers to contact you at any time to meet their own needs.
On top of this, a talking point in all circles of life from the casual conversations you have with your peers and colleagues to in the media, Is the active and systematic intrusion of people's lives? Documentaries such as Citizen Four involving Edward Snowden have been the driving points behind these revelations and have brought the conversation into the public eye. I would adore the chance to go into this topic, but unfortunately this is such a beast it will require a blog post of its own.
In conclusion, I’m going to sounds like an absolute hypocrite. But it will demonstrate how smartphones have become unnecessary luxury in modern society and are controversially referred to as an addiction.
Life without a smartphone is just asking for trouble really. If you have arranged to meet someone, you can’t have the luxury of logging onto Facebook out what the gossip is.
When you’re working you have to finish what you are doing instead of being distracted every 5 minutes as your friend has sent you a Snapchat.
As a consequence, I actually finish my days feeling productive. I don’t get to read through the flood of opinions from social and political ‘experts’ as and when a new topic of conversation hits national media outlets. When I’m out with my friends I can’t play Angry Birds or Facetime my dogs, I have no actually enjoy their company and have conversations.
You get the picture.