Are We ifriends or ifoes?

I decided to start off with a whole new post but I will be continuing where my previous post left off: Topic of Interest #1: Phones

I noticed this article on Freshly Pressed today: I Will Check My Phone At Dinner And You Will Deal With It. I have friends who are constantly on iphones and they certainly don’t see a problem with it. I guess it doesn’t have to be an iphone, it could be any device… I am guilty of being quite a shutterbug myself.

However, I usually take pictures and videos on my own time or when it seems appropriate (get togethers, events) and I take breaks from time to time and never record if someone requests that I don’t. I even had a cell phone until recently and plan to get another soon without the contract in order to save money and to only pay for the service I use because I don’t like being on the phone that much. It’s not that I can’t make a short call or send a text I just don’t find it absolutely necessary every second of every day. Being cell free for a week or more has been oddly freeing. I do still have a home phone and an accessible phone at work in case of emergencies but even amid the bad weather I’ve been getting along just fine.

Honestly, I might be a little biased on the iphone issue because I don’t own ianything… and I aims to keep it that way! Seriously though, I’m poor and looking to buy a prepaid cell but that isn’t the only reason I don’t own one of those amazing, totally awesome pieces of technology.

I refuse to buy version after version of a crappy phone just because it will allow me to surf the internet and have an app for that, I HATE that, it is so STUPID and I even find myself saying it. Apps are a million times worse for your attention span and personality than spell checker was for your natural spelling ability. Gee this really might be coming off as a little too harsh… I really care about some of my ifriends and I seriously do worry.

I was visiting another shutterbug friend of mine a few days ago and he showed me pictures he took with his new camera on a trip to see other good friends of ours. I noticed all three of my friends were on iphones while my photographer friend captured them interacting. It looked quite boring but it was, in fact, a technolorgy. Yeah, that’s a technological orgy, I just coined a new phrase, actually someone else probably already did… Anyway, now that most of my grumpiness towards telephone technology has passed I will discuss something I actually liked that covered this topic.

I have been watching the newest season of Futurama on Netflix and the 3rd episode, Attack of the Killer App which aired in July of last year sparked my imagination. Fry, Leela and the rest of the gang get the newest iphones implanted in their eyes after failing to “keep and use their outdated ones” like Leela suggested they do after the crew transported dangerous e-waste to Third World, a planet Earth sends its electronic waste to in the year 3010. In the episode workers burn off toxins and have coughing blue children collect anything of value from the ashes.

Sadly, the episode is based partly in fact. It is an exaggeration but children (and people of all ages) in third world countries do recycle a ridiculous amount of electronic waste that is generated simply because we refuse to use our phones once a newer version comes out or we don’t want to fix minor problems with electronics we already have, we’d much rather buy a new whatever.

I know we can’t use things forever but, in my life I try to use things as long as possible. I give things away when I no longer need them and take when people offer things I could use. I use very outdated cell phones and recycle them when possible. The important thing there is obviously to know where and how they will be recycled. Sometimes it is best to give your phone to someone who can’t afford to buy a new one every so often, trust me I have come across many of my phones in this way and it is much appreciated and significantly extends the life of the device.

I’m sick of living in a world where people refuse to put down a piece of plastic and wires in order to eat a wonderful meal when children across the world are tearing apart that guys old iphone to get enough money to eat for the day. It makes me sick to think that I might be one of those stupid Americans. After all I went to a state university in Iowa and, though I did well I am in real trouble. I am in debt, I can’t pay for the credit cards that I used to buy my books and computer and I can’t pay back my loans, I can’t even afford to keep my cell phone on.

But please, don’t feel sorry for me or let that sway your opinion. You may disagree with me, in fact, I welcome that. I will accept all well thought out ideas and responses. Phones can be wonderful tools. The internet is a wonderful tool without which I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it and possibly responding! I just remember a time before six year olds had phones, my grandmother downloaded nasty ring-tones and everyone wanted to be able to get a hold me every moment of every day. It just seems like a more simple kind of life but I am not naive, I know technology is not only here to stay but, will continue to grow exponentially.

A wise man once taught me that it is not always a bad thing to cell phone fact-check, which by my definition is: to look up random bits of trivia or knowledge to inform or impress friends or people you are attempting to interact with through technology. That wise man happened to be a magician with a now canceled internet talk show, thing called PennSays. Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller makes a great point: once you take the time to google the specific actor in this, or the date of that event, or who married so-and-so, that conversation becomes convoluted and the interaction is missed. Cell phone fact-checking is one of the main arguments for uninhibited cell phone use in any situation, especially among younger people. They just want to surf  the internet just in case some meaningless pop-culture reference, even just for a moment, God forbid, allude them. These young people just don’t know how to live without this constant connection that is comprised of a surprisingly small amount of actual physical, emotional or mental connection.

They are missing something on two levels.

  1. You can never learn or remember effectively if you don’t have to. Case in point, I can’t remember a single damn telephone number expect ones I memorized when I was very young.
  2. Sometimes it’s more important to have the conversation and to allow time for a little debate and discussion. It’s much less important to prove yourself right, prove someone else wrong or to impress with what are nothing more than flashy parlor tricks.

Again, you don’t have to stop using technology altogether but knowing when and how to use it properly will do more than possibly connect you with the people in your actual vicinity, it could ease your mind and lessen stress. I know I am already less stressed without having a cell to check constantly. I still keep it around, though. It has a camera, a clock, a calculator and a phone directory. See, still useful, even long after I stopped paying the service bill!

Trust me, all of us who aren’t staring at our phones constantly do notice those who are and it is rarely appealing, or approachable. It also doesn’t make you seem as though you are genuinely interested in anything anyone else is saying or doing.

Yeah, bet there’s not an ap… no, I’m so not going there! Guess if I can’t say anything nice about the icult I’ll just say that sometimes it does border on amusing.. but now, I really need to be done picking on inerds because I think opinions are like iphones: every asshole who wanted one already has one and no one else is changing their mind anytime soon!

One thought on “Are We ifriends or ifoes?

  1. iPhone users rarely have the device out of their hand. If it’s not in their hand it’s somewhere close by, where it’s essentially on ‘display.’ I don’t mind, either way, why not show off your new shiney phone? I held off buying my new phone (which I got your last year) due to it not being a Necessity, but the one I got, I bought because it checked the boxes. It has internet access, and google maps (incase I get lost) has easy text functions and a decent battery life. I use it as a phone basically, despite the large amount of other uses it could have.

    I wouldn’t dream of pulling it out to check it, mid-conversation, which I’ve seen others do. I agree with you about seeming unapproachable when they have their phone in there hands, too.

    World today I guess. No going back now!



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