Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is Your Smartphone Making You Look Dumb?

We’ve all seen those really cool commercials where smiling, well-dressed people are using fancy phones while images and words fly into the air above their heads, enhancing the world around them for themselves and all their smiling, well-dressed friends.

But have you ever stopped to think how dumb you actually look standing on a street corner or sitting in your car, ignoring the world around you, with your thumb sliding over your phone?

I got my first smartphone a couple of months ago and instantly succumbed to the crack addiction of my shiny, personalized, electronic little world. I get a physical twitch if I get up to go somewhere and it isn’t in my hand. I love the smoothness of it, the weight of it, the gliding feeling of the screen under my finger.

I do hate the cramping in my fingers from Swyping, and don’t even get me started on the frustrations of trying to use apps – some of which work and some of which don’t – or reading web pages that aren’t mobile enabled. But overall, I’m hooked.

My husband and mother, however, are fed up. They tell me I am acting just like a teenager and they feel it is incredibly rude for me to be constantly checking the thing anywhere we go. I’ve tried to explain that this is What People Do Now, but they don’t get it. They think It’s Rude.

They have a point. I’m trying to cut back on my mobile usage, even to the point of locking the thing where I can’t get at it. I do notice how totally DUMB people with smartphones look when they stand in some public place, head bent to that little electronic rectangle, oblivious to the world passing by.

If we really could see the images and words flicking over their heads it might be a lot cooler. But then, maybe we don’t want to know. There is enough media clutter in our lives already.

Which brings me to my main point: Smartphones have brought overstimulation to a new level. I definitely notice that my brain cannot “wind down” the way it used to. I wake up in the morning to a jolt of regurgitated information from the day before, followed by a wash of guilt for all the things I didn’t do because I was online.

As informed about and connected to others in my field of interest as I think I am now, I am also feeling a strong need need to force myself to unplug and try to find the person I was back when I used my phone to call the people I love and talk to them.

I don’t even recall who she is any more.


  1. I've seen it all over - the disconnection people seem to have with other human beings, while glued to some electronic device or another.

    It's hard to remember a time where going to the grocery store or road trip didn't require a phone.

    I get annoyed seeing a couple sitting across from one another in a restaurant and one of them is on the phone. Seriously, is the company that bad? (Hugs)Indigo

  2. The thing is... I AM visiting with people via the phone. People like... YOU!!! I'm blogging and talking to other writers on Facebook, for example.

    But I'm ignoring the more boring, less writerly types who also deserve my attention. And that's not right. I need to find the balance. All things in moderation.

  3. I guess I'd have to care if people think I look dumb.

  4. Indigo, why do you get annoyed? What's it to you?

    I'm not trying to be mean, I just find that odd. People find all sorts of ways to disassociate themselves from each other. They always have. Phones are just the latest.

  5. I just wrote a post about moderation, up for tomorrow.

  6. Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
    ~ Saint Augustine

  7. As I said on Facebook, abstinence is easier because it's a cop out.

  8. As I replied on FB, I think it is often an honest and necessary step in confronting bad habits. Only Yoda has discipline enough to be moderate in evetything, and he's 900 years old and fictional.

  9. Maybe for other people. It never worked for me.

    But I pretty much decide where I'm going and do it balls-to-the-wall for everything.

  10. Writing wise, you certainly do! And it is starting to pay off. :D


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