A smart age

We live in a world where phones are sometimes the only smart thing about some people.

We live in a world where smileys, stickers, hashtags or emoticons replaced words.

This is nothing new of course. But I must confess it really pisses me off. In the past couple weeks I had several coffees and lunches with my friends and I enjoyed them less that I thought I would. I found it very annoying the way I couldn’t even say a sentence without my friend’s phone beeping or vibrating on the table and him/her checking what it was. One minute a whatsapp message, another some notification from facebook, on another someone posted a new picture on instagram.

I mean, loads and loads of words have already been said and written on this subject – how social media and smart phones are destroying interpersonal relationships and verbal communication. I don’t want to go on about how bad it is.

But seriously, I think it is rude. I think it’s so rude it even hurts me. It hurts me that our smart era made me look forward to meeting my friends less than I had before. It hurts me being constantly cut off by that beeping thing. It hurts talking to my friend and knowing he or she only half listens because he or she is checking his/her phone (“sorry, just keep talking, I’m listening. I just need to reply to this guy”). And it hurts me feeling like they’re bored with me so they have to find other form of entertainment. And it hurts knowing the other person on the other end of the line is more important to them than me – obviously, because they have to text them back immediately, it simply can’t wait until our lunch is over. (They’re even more important than food in some instances – one of my friend’s meal had gone cold by the time she was done replying on whatsapp).

Deep down I know it’s not like that. I know they like me, I know they wanted to go out to lunches with me. It’s just that their phone is a part of their lives to the extent they can no longer detach themselves from it.

Phones are like fire: They’re good servants, but bad masters. They are things we need, yes, but we can’t let them dominate over us.

Two of my friends recently told me: “You’re probably the last person I know that doesn’t have a smart phone”. Yes, I don’t have internet on my phone, I don’t have instagram, whatsapp, snapchat…. It’s not that I can’t afford it. I guess I’m just afraid that I might become a slave to my phone just like some of my friends. It’s kind of my fear that I’ll start doing the same thing I hate to other people. That I’ll stop listening to others because my attention will be constantly interrupted by beeping. And you definitely shouldn’t do things you don’t want others do to you, right?

Yes, I don’t have a smart phone. But my current phone is smart enough to make calls. And send texts. So I guess I’m fine for now.

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2 thoughts on “A smart age

  1. There really isn’t anything I can say except: we’re the ones who make the choices. I have a flip phone, and so do many of my friends. Most of us aren’t on Facebook, none are using Instagram or Pinterest. I am on Twitter, but I’m a very casual user.

    When we go for dinner, or for an outing, there’s general agreement that the phones will be turned off. Sometimes, someone will say, “I’m waiting for a call from my (fill in the blank), and if he calls I’ll have to take it.” But there’s none of that general beeping, ringing, buzzing.

    It can be hard to create an oasis of civilization in the midst of the cyber-madness, but it can be done! Of course, it has to be much harder when all of your friends and acquaintances have bought into the new social routines. Still, I agree with you. Much gadget behavior these days is rude.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with you entirely! I have a mobile phone I just use for emergencies. People are often offended that I won’t give them my number – not just friends but companies. I explain that I have survived well up until now without them, but I carry this one just in case I have an accident or someone I’m cooking for has a change of plans. We turn our phones off when we are eating out with someone. One of the rudest times I can think of was someone receiving a call in the cinema during a film from someone in the foyer to ask what flavour popcorn they want! Get a life!

    Liked by 1 person

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