We’ve looked at smartphone usage from a number of angles, from reasons why they should make you sick to how they affect the business world when it comes to issues like bring-your-own-device. I think a lot about the world and the ways in which technology constantly affects it. Things aren’t so simple anymore, and smartphones add a layer of complexity that’s both wonderfully convenient (pertinent info is in the palm of your hand) and completely terrifying.
interestingly enough, just as i was pondering these things, a colleague of mine found this moving video (embedded below) about smartphone usage that’s a little too accurate for comfort. The short film follows a young woman through various situations. She goes for a run, spends time with friends, and goes to a birthday party. Everything seems fine, but a theme is present from the start: anxiety about the ubiquitous smartphone technology that drags people away from reality and into the digital universe, no matter where they are.
I was touched and a little disturbed by how accurately the film portrayed the culture of smartphone users. We’re distracted and preoccupied, constantly shifting from one thing to another, never focusing on what’s present and in front of us, but instead we concern ourselves with what we can share and consume online. So much effort goes into sharing things (even intimate moments like a marriage proposal) that the act of the sharing—taking the picture or video of the event—becomes more important than the event itself, which is quite depressing.
As you might recall, I resisted buying a smartphone for a long time before I finally caved. I love my phone, it’s totally rad, but it’s sad because I’ve caught myself ignoring people in favor of a text message, an internet photo, or an email, and that’s terribly rude behavior. My guess is you’ve probably caught yourself doing the same, but if not, you might be doing it without noticing. The fact that we can’t set aside our devices to talk to each other, or focus on the task at hand, or even drive, shows that we’ve got some serious self-control problems when it comes to our devices.
With the onset of devices like Google Glass, it will probably get worse before it starts getting any better. We’ll have our screens attached to our faces soon enough so we can keep the constant media stimulation going for every waking hour. I think we could all benefit from “teching down” a little bit (or a lot, for some of us). Check out the video to see what I mean—it might hit a little too close to home.