Welcome to the future! Our entire lives are now on a 4.2″ LCD screen that is always in our hands or our pockets…or both at the same damn time.
There is no need to look anywhere else than on these screens, as everything you will ever need for your entire life is displayed on them. (like this post?)
Smartphones are great, and nearly vital to existing in western civilization today. However, it seems most people are not using them correctly.
“Correctly? I’ll use my phone however I want, you’re an asshole!”
Thanks! Feel free to do whatever you want on your phone, I couldn’t give two shits, but first, consider how you can vastly improve your life by using your smartphone with a higher level of self-awareness.
How often do you finding yourself sitting on the toilet and checking Facebook, Instagram, or your email? How about while you are sitting at a red light? Maybe continuously while you are driving?
Have you ever asked yourself what you are even trying to do when you check these apps? No really, what the hell are you DOING?
Many of us don’t even realize how often and mindlessly we repetitively check every social media application, our email, and even news websites.
If anyone has a history of experiencing this constant cognitive breakdown of insanity, it’s me.
I never had a MySpace when I was in elementary school, because I always thought the idea of posting your entire life online for everyone to see was rather childish and silly.
For some reason, I ended up falling deep into the pit of the Facebook trap, just a couple of years after it started to become somewhat well known. July of 2008, just after I had turned 16 to be more precise.
Social media stories are a whole different tangent, and I digress.
I used to be on Facebook on a continual 24/7 basis. It was just too much mindless fun. The only thing that ever really competed with Facebook was Snapchat, particularly during endless road trips.
Everything of significance that happened or witnessed was REQUIRED to be snapchatted. Videos of driving, every landmark, and whatnot.
Similarly with Facebook, everything that happened needed to go on Facebook. I remember writing insignificant happenings, and uploading the most pointless photos.
This particular discussion is not necessarily about the ramifications of social media however, but moreso about what you lose by blindly staring at your phone screen at all times.
Instead of being in the present moment…actually experiencing whatever was happening, I was always somewhere else. Instead of just enjoying and accepting what was happening now, there was always some absurd impulse of “I need to post this!” “Snapchat this!”
Perhaps much worse than the social media aspect, was the ordinary photo snapping psychosis.
It took me an entire YEAR of gradual work in my spare time to clean out bullshit photos from all of my digital storage areas. Virtually all of these photos had been taken on one of countless trips across the country or trips to the store.
There were photos of ‘funny’ misspelled signs, photos of random buildings out of focus, and….dear lord please don’t make me relive this self-imposed hell.
In total, I deleted at least 40,000 worthless photos of bullshit. I still have several thousand that are at least reasonably meaningful.
You probably are not this insane, but perhaps you suffer from similar issues of technological indulge. I do not know.
I just love taking photos, I have since I was five years old. The problem is smartphones have made it incredibly easy to value quantity over quality.
Instead of taking the time to just focus and take ONE GOOD PHOTO, you end up hitting the shutter button ten times for something that isn’t even worth a photo in the first place.
Digital media is extremely fast (even when you are screaming bloody murder profanities at it for being too slow) It also provides the illusion that storage is unlimited and without consequences.
It’s exceptionally easy to take several hundred photos over the course of a few months and forget about them, only to upload them to the computer or cloud later on.
Nevertheless, I continued doing this over the course of a few years, during which time I was either working overtime or taking one of dozens of cross country trips.
One day I finally came to the mortifying realization that I had tens of thousands of photos from every place I had ever visited, along with all of the people I met or stalked and every weird sign or who knows what I came across. They were all just scattered about on the computer. I immediately had to acquire alcohol to alleviate the situation.
Again, you probably are not even close to this bad with your photos. Maybe no one has experienced this, I certainly am curious as to how you manage your digital media.
Checking Social Media 10000x
It is far too easy to repetively check your social media profiles when you should or could be doing anything else. Even more so, it’s incredibly unnecessary and a drain on your mental energy.
How many times do you instinctively check your Snapchat or Instagram while pulling up to a red light? What about checking your Facebook, Twitter or Email while standing in line at a store or the post office? Why is it so hard for us to just stand still for 20 seconds?
Do you do all five of these while also walking back out to the car from the store? Then yet again after you have backed out of the parking space?
Don’t lie; I know some of you do this, because almost every time I walk through a parking lot, I almost get run over by someone backing up while staring at their phone.
How challenging is it really to back out of a f*cking parking space for six seconds without doing SOMETHING on your smartphone?
It’s apparently difficult enough, and it’s because most of us do not even fully realize we are doing this shit.
Forgetting all about everything mentioned above, the worst aspect of smartphone mindlessness is the difficulty in participating in an actual face to face conversation with some people.
An old friend of mine that I had not seen in a few years was driving across several states and came out of his way to meet up with me and chat. We met over lunch, and during this lunch I attempted to converse and inquire about this person’s life.
Can you guess where this is going? I wanted to have a face to face conversation, but this person was far too engaged in their phone throughout the entire meet up to say or hear much of anything.
It was so depressing. I do not recall making eye contact even once, as he was on his phone typing or scrolling through Facebook the entire time.
What was the point? I’m sure I had shit happening on my phone as well, but I just put it on silent or otherwise ignore it until the twenty minute meet up was over.
Even as a leaning introvert, not being able to make eye-contact or have a real face to face conversation with an old friend was rather alarming.
The next time you are spending time with your friends or family, just MONITOR you thought impulses. Are you reaching for your phone every 30 seconds? Do you really NEED to? Is anything happening on that glowing piece of shit at all?
I am not out to become an anti-smartphone crusader, or a “smartphone shamer” (what an idiotic term). Doing so would make me an unfathomable hypocritical dick as people used to tell me I was buried in my phone too much.
(Ironically these same people would usually be buried in their phone five minutes later.)
I just hope we can all have an honest conversation (perhaps in real life?) about how drastically smartphones have changed our lives.
I do not plan on getting rid of my smartphone anytime soon; (unless I slam an axe through it for crashing too frequently.) There are too many features that enhance my life. Yes, smartphones can greatly benefit your productivity and functionality. They are more than just selfie snapping machine guns.
Storm chasing would obviously be vastly more difficult without a smartphone, as would quickly navigating strange places. Perhaps an interesting experiment would be to attempt both endeavors with no phone for a while…
Moreover, I use a spectacular app called “Productivity Challenge Timer” to help me accomplish….everything.
This app automatically times 25 minute intervals with 4 minute breaks in between, with a 15 minute break every third work session. It makes “pacing yourself” at the computer so much easier.
My phone also sends me lightning alerts which is very helpful when outdoors in Florida, and I also use Radarscope to look at the storms….you get the fucking point.
Smartphones are here to stay, and I’m happy about that. However, it would be spectacular if we could all learn to use them more efficiently…or smarterer.
Challenge yourself just to observe your smartphone usage for a week. See how often you check your social media accounts and email, and where you are engaging in these tasks. Ask yourself why you just checked your account and wether it was necessary at that exact time.
You may be doing it way more than you realize you are. Come back here and report your results, or just call me a smartphone shaming jackass.
Either way, have a great day, and please stop backing over children while on Facebook.