Smart Phones… what am I missing?

12 Nov

with my "dumb phone"

When researching tech and media trends for last week’s “News of the Week” I stumbled across a blog post by Justin Wright, a self-proclaimed “digital nomad.” It’s title, “My Life Without a Smartphone” immediately caught my attention because of it’s, well, the story of my life. In capstone we constantly talk about mobile trends and apps.  Even though I feel a little left out, I try to follow along and act interested. It’s something I need to be interested in because I think smartphones and mobile devices are not going anywhere. They will affect me as a journalist too. In my Multimedia Design class we talk about designing for mobile browsers and creating content that would be important to have in a mobile setting. Viewing something on a mobile device totally changes the ballgame from a beautiful web page to something small, practical and fast. So yes, they are important.

Do I have one? Nope. Do I want one? Yes and no.

Since at least 80% of my friends have phones with internet access, I am surrounded. When we’re looking for a restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska, it’s very handy to have UrbanSpoon. When we’re talking about our plans, it’s nice to immediately have access to the MU Basketball schedule or an e-mail our boss sent this morning.

On the other hand, it’s really distracting to have friends that are on Facebook when we’re at a party, or even worse, at dinner. You can play Angry Birds when you’re by yourself.

Justin’s blog post vocalizes most of my feelings on the topic. He said the feature he misses the most is the GPS and having constant access to a map. After 90 days, he said it’s less distracting and less expensive. I wonder if he’s gone back?

The biggest reason I don’t have a smartphone is because my parents won’t pay for it. They don’t think it’s necessary and I’m not willing to fork over the cash myself. To be perfectly honest, if they paid for it, I’d have one. But they aren’t, and in the meantime I’ve come to appreciate the simple life. Right now saving money for my big girl lifestyle in May is more important- also what the heck would I have to blog about?

I’m not important enough to need my e-mail the minute you send it. People that really need me have my phone number and know that’s the best way to get a hold of me. Someday when I have a high-profile job that might change.

Not having the internet in my pocket has made me much braver. I have to pull over and ask gas station attendants for directions when I get lost. I like to think it makes me a better journalist because I am forced to talk to strangers on a regular basis. It also makes me slow down. When I have time to wait, I just …. wait. No, I’m not productive- I can’t read the news or check my e-mails, but sometimes I just need to sit still.

Also my phone is smaller than any smartphone I’ve ever seen, so it always fits in my pocket.

In five years, I think I will probably have a mobile device of some sort. As for now, my phone only makes calls, sends texts and takes pretty crappy photos.

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3 Responses to “Smart Phones… what am I missing?”

  1. Kate November 14, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    I like what you said about having to talk to strangers . . . it really does help your journalism! You are one of the bravest people I know!

  2. Justin Wright November 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    I haven’t gone back yet 🙂

    I think it’s been almost a year now since I got rid of the smartphone and it’s actually really easy to get by without one. At first it was a bit tough but eventually you get to the point where you realize that people never had internet on their phones a few years ago.

    It’s such a relief to not have the constant distraction of surfing the web or emailing people.

    • smwhitney November 29, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

      Glad to hear it! I’ve been 21 years without and my life is pretty great 🙂

      I love reading about your adventures on your blog. Let me know if you’re ever hiring a blogging companion with a flip phone!

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