Social Smartphones?


I think that mobile phones, specifically smart phones that can do everything that a laptop computer can do, have had and will have the largest impact on us socially. One thing that immediately comes to mind is that essentially everyone has the power of the internet literally in the palm of their hand. I think that this may be a factor that limits us from remembering things. Since we have access to all the information that the internet holds, there is no need to remember directions, recipes, definitions etc. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it certainly makes us dependent.

Additionally, I believe that the fact that everyone also has a video camera in their pocket takes away from people simply enjoying life. For example, if one were to walk by a street performer on a city block singing a beautiful ballad, they would also see every single observer recording said ballad with their phone. I also find myself doing this a lot, trying to document the things I see with my camera phone. For example, this past semester I went to an Imagine Dragons concert in Prague, and without really noticing what I was doing I took a video of nearly every single song that was performed. Did this take away from my experience while at the concert? It may have… but it may also have been worth it, in order to re-watch the concert from my point of view at a later date.

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One of the clearest dangers that smartphones pose to society is the element of texting/tweeting/snapchatting/redditing while driving. The FCC has a page with some staggering numbers showing the effect that using your phone while driving can have. One of these statistics that stood out (and it is from all the way back in 2010) is that 18% of fatal car crashes can be attributed to distracted driving due to the use of a technological device. Cars seem to be in our future at least in the relative long-term, therefore the danger from distracted driving will continue to be prevalent and is really something that society needs to address.

When taking the quiz I immediately knew that it was created at least 5 years ago because of the questions about “Palms and Blackberrys.” I know that if the quiz had been created within the past five years there would have been options for the iPhone and for Tablets (tablets were never even mentioned in the quiz). I was an Ambivalent Networker: “you have folded mobile devices into how you run your social life, whether through texting or online social networking tools. You also rely on ICTs for entertainment. At the same time – perhaps because of the volume of digital pings from others – you may sometimes find all your connectivity to be intrusive. You are confident in your ability to troubleshoot your various information devices and services.” I think that this is pretty accurate about how active a role technology plays in my life. It is also definitely true that I find it to be intrusive, I often find myself looking around a room full of friends and every single one of them is playing on their phone, something that I really do not like to see. I am not sure if our generation is worse at communicating face to face, it is just that it is so easy to get distracted by the infinite things going on in one’s pocket. I try not to look at my phone when conversing with people, but sometimes I am waiting for an email or a text from someone that is relatively important so it is unavoidable. I fear that in years to come we humans may be constantly connected to our technology and never look away from it, not even to make eye contact during a real in person conversation.

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8 comments on “Social Smartphones?

  1. With regard to the distracted driving, I think it’s weird that laws nowadays are only targeting texting and driving and not use of mobile devices in general. In several states where texting and driving is banned, it is legal to surf the internet on your phone while driving, which is just as dangerous as texting. Cops essentially have to see the screen of the phone to pull someone over, encouraging people to hide their phones while using them, which is even more dangerous.

  2. I was also an ambivalent networker. You said how you dislike walking into a room of friends and seeing everyone on their phones. This is definitely what bothers me the most about technology now. Not only does it take away the need to be face to face for a discussion, but even when people are face to face, they do not communicate. I just cooked dinner for my friends tonight and no one even heard me say it was ready cause they were all sitting at the table on their phones. Its amazing how people can truly not be present when sitting right next you. Yes communication via technology is SO important and convenient and I am definitely guilty of sneaking a peak at during a conversation myself, but we are going to need to work on making sure true, polite, present communication is stays alive.

    • It’s funny because I feel the exact same way, yet I am completely guilty of this myself. I don’t really know how to solve this issue. I feel we pretty much at the point of no return.

  3. I think the scariest part is the dependence. Technology has made it so that we don’t have to remember many basic things (like you said, recipes directions, etc.). How far will this go?

  4. I cam e out as a digital collaborator, but I feel much more like an ambivalent one.

    I do wish we had a newer version because I agree these categories shift over time very quickly.

    For example, I hardly use Facebook anymore. I am waiting for a superior service that would allow me to more directly parse and manage sub groups. Google+ looks like it could do it, but it suffers from the network lock-in effect of FB.

    • Thats true, I had not even thought of the scheduling/calendar aspect. People these days almost never know what day it is without their calendar.

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