Last week, I purchased my first smart phone. It is a Samsung Galaxy 4, and it costs $200 and I had to sign up for a 2 year AT&T plan at roughly $100 / month. I know that I am late to the party and an expensive party at that, but I am hardly excited. If you want to find me at the smart phone party, you can probably find me off in the corner somewhere. There is something that bothers me about the entire post-PC, smart phone revolution, so here is one PC guy’s thoughts on why smart phones aren’t all they are cracked up to be.
Cost – As described above, smart phones and the accompanying service is expensive. Yes, I have the money, but it makes me gulp to think that my smart phone costs more than my cable bill, landline and internet bill combined.
Emails – I love email and one trend is that people are now responding from their smart phones. That is cool although quite often the responses are poorly worded, riddled with typographical errors, unnecessarily curt, and in the signature a cute disclaimer such as “excuse my typos”, or “typing with my thumbs”. Technology should improve communication not make it worse.
Sociality – It is my belief that we should use the internet to improve our lives. It should not replace our lives nor be an alternative for how we live our lives. For a lot of people, their smart phones have replaced normal social interaction. The smart phone has become the socially acceptable way of ignoring people.
Speed – Now that everyone has the news at their finger tips 24/7, we have become a society chasing the latest tidbit of information. People are constantly checking the news as if knowing that news 10 minutes before the next guy might make a difference in your or their lives. The problem is that it doesn’t and it won’t. We need to slow down and absorb the information that we already have to spot the trends that can noticeably improve our lives.
Size – There is a trend where people are now purchasing huge phones and then thigh holsters to showcase these monstrosities. The message is that size matters and somehow these people are more knowledgeable, productive and successful than the rest of us. I am no psychologist but somehow these people are overcompensating for other deficiencies in their lives.
Ubiquitous Photos– The high quality photos that come out of phones today are amazing. Human beings are documenting our existence through photos and videos like no other time in history. This ultimately will create a better and more peaceful and rational world. There is a side effect. Some people feel compelled to take photos of the most mundane aspects of their daily lives. Just in the space of a day this past weekend, three different people posted how much laundry they had washed complete with photo. Somehow the bar has been lowered too far on what is interesting.
So it is now late 2013, and I bought my first smart phone. I don’t feel any smarter, more knowledgeable, more productive, more successful, nor more popular. So here is my tip for smart phone aficianados, smile at strangers. Seriously, try it. You will find it is getting harder every day, because no one is looking.