Joining Society or How I Made Peace and Accepted the Smartphone

I’m neither a technophobe nor Neo-Luddite. I find technology fascinating, especially when the latest development goes beyond reducing “First World Problems,” and focuses on *gasps* the betterment or advancement of humanity. Most tech devices for consumers don’t immediately strike me as doing that, and thus I have a tendency to…let’s just say…take my time acquiring them.

iPods were intriguing when they came out, only a couple of friends actually had one. I oohed and awed at the ease of use and categorization (I’m a little obsessive with alphabetizing or chronological order), but I still had fully functional CD players. I also enjoyed flipping through my binders and selecting a few favorite albums to cycle through. Once I hit 200+ CDs, I realized I couldn’t listen to music whenever I had the urge, and sometimes CDs hid from me. An iPod or some sort of MP3 player made sense. In 2009, I opted for a 120 GB iPod Classic. No audio books, podcasts, or photos added. Just music. I was content. Until two months later when a 160 GB Classic was on sale somewhere else for the same price. Fortunately, I have yet to max mine out.

The same year, I purchased a laptop (necessary for hosting my iTunes and classes) for less than $300. No built-in webcam (I already had one), 2 GB memory and 160 GB HD. I’m using it to compose this entry, and while I’ve had some scares during its lifespan, I’m not immediately searching for a replacement. Prior to owning, I used an old Gateway desktop my family bought during my second year of high school. Every now and then, I would boot it up to move something to a flash drive or laptop. It’s kind of shocking that I was able to use it for so long, even with exposure to more advanced options, but I did. It may even still work. And now…I might have to find out.

Around 2006, I got my first cell phone. A simple Nokia flip phone with a camera. Basic, black and mostly for emergency communication with family or friends. Plus, I’m not much of a telephone conversationalist anymore. During a girl’s night out in celebration of Spring Break, I lost it. The replacement was roughly the same model. I kept that phone until 2010 and “upgraded” to an LG touch screen that wasn’t considered Smart. I was fine not being someone constantly glued to their handheld screen. When I went out with friends, or even met new people, moments of conversation became interrupted by their need to respond to a text or some excuse to use their phones. I felt inadequate, like I was falling behind some wave of progress that would ultimately stifle my future. But the biggest concern was that I was no longer entertaining or interesting enough as a person to compete.

This summer, I upgraded to a Smartphone. Black and sensible. It’s still LG because Apple’s touch technology believes I’m a corpse when I’m in too cool an environment and won’t respond to my fingers.  Also I just didn’t have interest in an iPhone. Or anything else. Maybe in a few years I’ll jump on Galaxy wagons or whatever is a “big deal” line of phones by then. I digress. The decision to upgrade to a Smartphone has impacted my life in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Texting options like swiping or voice to text lets me compose texts faster (can you tell I’m a “talker”) and thus I’m inclined to stay in touch with more people. I get apps that make me feel like I’m learning something or getting my brain to stay active and that cheers me up. I tune into news that I might not otherwise have taken the time to read up on during a computer session. I’ve considered putting a book on it, but I really rather have a Kindle Paperwhite (I’m a fan of not having the best-super-awesome-all-in-one-whatever, because whenever something starts trying to offer everything many features become sub par). And most of all it’s helped me ease out into social media. I’ve written reviews for the apps I use and that has my Google all over it.

I haven’t fully embraced the Smartphone culture. I have qualms over syncing capabilities and all the permissions one may have to grant to use certain programs. “You’d like to play Sudoku? Sure thing, but first we need to use your webcam, mic, photos, media files, phone’s vibration and contacts. Oh, and when you update, we’ll want access to everything else you didn’t already grant us. ;)” Thankfully, it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I expected. And when people decide to tune me out in person, I can brain train or do something else “productive” instead of sit there…sipping on a beverage or glass of ice.


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