My Phone and Me
I was wandering to the shops yesterday when there was an audible alert from my smartphone informing me of some message that needed “my urgent attention”. On this occasion it was from Discord regarding a new post and was nothing of significance. Needless to say this got me thinking about the endless stream of whistles, chirrups and beeps that emanate from my pocket during the course of the day, most of which are trivial. Frankly it’s been getting on my nerves for a while. In recent weeks, due to my Father’s illness, I’ve been using my phone in a far more traditional fashion; namely making and receiving calls and text messages. This shift in use has given me a different perspective and as a result I have fallen out of love with this constant barrage of trivia.
Until today I had over fifty apps on my Samsung Galaxy S6. All of which were happily draining my phone’s battery as well as constantly updating and eroding my monthly 2 GB data allowance. Furthermore, they were constantly vying for my attention. It also has to be said that I’ve been complicit in this relationship. On mature reflection I’ve turned into one of those people who constantly check’s his phone. I reach for it first thing in the morning, to see what’s happened on Twitter during the night and am loath to put it down last thing at night. I’ve developed the mentality of an overexcited child at Christmas who “doesn’t want to miss anything”. However that has now changed. Circumstances and a healthy dose of reality have made we revise my “relationship” with my phone.
To cut a long story short (as Spandau Ballet said) the SIM card in my phone went on the blink this morning. After a trip to the Vodafone store it also became apparent that the excess of apps where causing conflicts with the phones network settings. As result I randomly couldn’t make or receive calls without having to manually switch between 3G and 4G. Fortunately a factory reset and a new SIM card the resolved the problem. It also presented me with a golden opportunity to install only those apps I deemed essential. So I grasped the nettle and said goodbye to dozens of pointless programs whose primary goal was to nag me incessantly.
Although I greatly enjoy the banter of twitter and like to stay abreast of the news, I think I’ve made an important change to my life. I will still use my phone as a window onto the world but I intend to be less dependent upon it; because I do feel that there is an element of psychological addiction associated with smart phone culture. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people I see crossing roads or alighting from public transport, transfixed by their respective handheld device. I’m also a bluff old traditionalist who believes that certain social activities are sacrosanct, such as dining together and face to face conversations. So a change has been made and it will be interesting to see how well I cope. No doubt a future blog post will tell of my progress.