When I first realized that I’d left my phone at home, I panicked. I was cut-off from the world; isolated from my social network, friends and loved ones. For several hours, I would be unreachable by phone call or text message. I started to feel anxious, but within a few minutes, the rational side of my brain woke up. What was I doing?
Like so many of us, I’m a little addicted to my technology. I like being connected. I like talking to friends around the world, reading the news as it unfolds and snapping shots to tweet and instagram to my followers across several social media platforms. But today, my dependency scared me. I had to ask myself: Can I function a day without my smartphone?
I’m part of the generation that’s old enough to remember a time before the Internet invaded our homes, but young enough to have been indoctrinated in the promise of the Information Age. I remember getting my first email account in the third or fourth grade and my amazement that those beeps and chirps could transmit text and photos across thousands of miles of telephone lines.
From there, I tumbled down that slippery slope from email and word processing to message boards to MySpace to Facebook to Twitter as my Internet devices got smaller, faster and more powerful. In the blink of a decade, my personal computing power increased about 2,930 percent.* That’s mindblowing.
But sometimes, I worry that I’m too plugged in. I do have less face-to-face interactions. I talk less on the phone and I notice things around me less than I did before my eyes and fingers were glued to the touch screen. Can I go a day without my phone, a few hours? I thought it couldn’t be that hard.
At first it was. It’s part of my routine; at times almost an extension of my body. But after an hour or two, I was able to focus on my work without much distraction. I have a laptop at work and my job keeps me logged into Facebook and Twitter for much of the day, so I didn’t miss much (just five text messages and a handful of other notifications). Still, not feeling the constant buzz of the phone was downright relaxing.
Maybe I need to forget my phone at home more often.
— 30 —
I’m a tech junkie, Applephile and all-around nerdy guy, which means I really like Twitter. Follow at your own peril.
*(Some people may want to know how I got this number. Our family’s early-90s desktop behemoth had a 33 MHz processor and my phone has processor that clocks in around 1 GHz. So, around 2,900 percent faster. Multiply that by 2.4 to see how badly my laptop tounces the old Compaq Presario. Even more mindblowingly, my hard drive space has increased 500,000 percent.)