I have been a hater of smart phones for as long as I can remember. Until recently, I was using the Samsung Smooth – which contrary to its name is more brick-like than smooth – and I was very happy with it. It did what I wanted it to, make calls, send and receive text messages, have a super long battery life, and not break when I treated it like a tennis ball. I was so old-school that I hadn’t even adopted T9 for texting. Then, earlier this summer I caved into the pressure and got an iPhone 4. Everyone says getting a smart phone will change your life in a positive way, but I was always kind of skeptical. After a couple of months with my fancy new phone, I still don’t really feel like it has dramatically changed my life, and in fact it might be making me more introverted, which is terrible.
When I really think about it, I don’t really use my iPhone’s capabilities all that much. On a daily basis, the only third-party app I really use is twitter, and pretty much I only check that while I’m eating breakfast, which I could just as easily do in front of my computer. I also listen to music on my phone a lot, but this just replaced my ipod shuffle. I will say that it is convenient to not have to carry so many things around (i.e. phone, mp3 player, camera, etc.). On rarer occasions, I use the maps app and the camera feature, particularly when I’m travelling, but again this is just a substitute for planning ahead. I also occasionally use twitter in places where I don’t have access to a computer, although I’m not sure how much utility this is really adding to my life. I don’t really think it’s necessary to stay that up to date with whatever’s going on the world (to the point where you know what happened in the last 20 minutes), and my personal tweets are mostly pointless.
The times when I use my phone most are the times when I could/should be interacting with other people. For example, I have recently started writing blog posts while waiting for the bus on the way to and from work. Instead of staring at my phone, I could make small talk with the other commuters and maybe meet some cool, interesting people. This would actually be really useful for me since I don’t have a established social network where I live. This also happens when I carpool to ultimate practices and tournaments; my teammates and I spend most of the car ride checking news and other things on our phones rather than talking to each other. This was primarily the reason why I didn’t want a smart phone in the first place.
I’ve considered the possibility that I don’t have the right suite of apps to make the most of my device, but I haven’t found many of the apps my friends recommend to be all that useful. A lot of people recommend games to me, but their novelty dies out really quickly and I find that they soon just clutter my home screen. This is also true of most of the social apps, I’m not that big a Facebook/Google+ user as it is, so I rarely see the need to check these things while I’m away from a computer.
I’ve pretty much realized that the phone provides convenience, that can mostly be negated by thinking ahead and planning. And in return, you pay for it by missing out on social interactions, since it’s so much easier to get lost in your phone than take some effort and talk to people.
I don’t mean to sound so negative, I honestly think that smart phone technology is incredible; I’m just not sure how positively life changing the technology is.