DumbPhone?

I want it thank Pavel for sharing his thoughts today. At first I wanted to comment on his post but as I started writing I noticed that I had too much to say on this for a simple comment.There seems to be a trend to get off the high tech and social networking bandwagon lately.

This particular video Pavel linked to made me listen up. Is there another life out there?

I think we are beginning to see the advantages of a more disconnected life. All the while making the best of technology. We are becoming more discerning users, and hopefully happier at the same time. All those Facebook scandals certainly help in this.

But is this only some hopelessly nostalgic fad or is there something real behind it? Can it be done? Of course for Pavel it has been working for several months now. Lucky him! But will it work for others?

For me?

The main culprit, as Pavel said is the phone. It is calling for our attention virtually all the time.

What do I use it for?

In fact it’s my watch, as I don’t wear a wristwatch any more, it’s a phone (duh), it helps me find my way, catch my bus in time and it wakes me up in the morning.

It even connected me to ‘friends’ I had never met…. and it ‘liked’ me too much, at least until I finally gave up on Facebook a month ago. I still don’t regret that move!

But would I be able to live completely without it?

I remember the pre-iPhone days with horror. Nothing was more terrible than composing even a short message on a numeric keypad. I absolutely hated that and was relieved by the iPhone’s possibilities.

Then there is the fact that the iPhone helps me find my way around foreign cities without handling bulky maps…. Certainly a strong point for it!

Without any doubt the smartphone has it’s enormous benefits, but it has caught us in a net (pun intended) and as much as we wriggle we can’t get free any more.

Or can we?

In order to try we will have to make a conscious decision. We will have to decide if we want to stay tethered to the phone or if we would rather break the link and live our real physical lives.

And taking that decision involves more that just saying ‘OK, from now on my phone stays home’. It involves considering our use of the phone, the benefits we get from using it and the negative side effects we suffer.

I’m not a fan of making pro and con lists but in this case I think such a list would help. And then, will it be possible, like Pavel, to ditch the smartphone from one day to the next and go cold turkey. Or would it be more considerate to slowly limit our use of it? Say leave it at home on photo walks, try to restrict checking mail to certain times per day, offloading annoying apps (looking at you Facebook, Messenger, Youtube…). Perhaps use the great ‘Do Not Disturb’ function of the iPhone…

Will it be possible to have the character strength to pull this off?

For the moment I feel very much inspired by Pavel’s post and the links he shared. But then again, the smartphone certainly has it’s uses. If only as a camera when nothing else is at hand.

Anyways, I can only applaud Pavel for his resolve and his ability to simply get rid of his smartphone!

Guess I’ll rather go at it more gradually, evaluating, restricting and controlling myself.

Ahem, by the way, all the photos in this post are from the dreaded iPhone….

Thanks for reading!

25 thoughts on “DumbPhone?

  1. Just couple of notes…

    – get a wristwatch (I already tryiting to select one) – is it reasonably to chech 5 inch device every time you need to know whaat time is it?
    – buy an alarm clock (so phone will not be first thing you see in the moring)
    – gradual change – did not work, of course I tried it, unistalled tons of of apps…but you know what, i was addicted and I accesed all social media content via web browswer on the phone, because i knew I can….
    – I also tried this – converting screen of the phone to monochrome (https://lifehacker.com/change-your-screen-to-grayscale-to-combat-phone-addicti-1795821843) – to make less addictive – but I did not like it, turned it back to color in a day
    – it is not a wish, i am still on the internet too much, connected, but not all the time…

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  2. I have a smart phone, an Android, not a prisonware Iphone. I also have a watch and an alarm clock

    I use my phone for a number of things: I check when the next bus really is coming as the timetable, which I also have, is by no means accurate. I communicate with family and friends (the real sort) via WhatsApp, Hangouts, FB and mail (not in that order). Our telephone doesn’t collect dust, either.

    I post my photos on G+, FB and flickr. I have also started with Mastodon – as a non-commercial alternative to Twitter.

    Am I addicted to my phone? No. It has its uses as does my laptop or anything else in the house. A smartphone or alcohol, sugar or whatever is not addictive per se. You need a person as well to become addicted to something. And this is the rub. Don’t blame the thing, ask what has happened that someone has become addictive to something!

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    • You’re right to say that it’s mot the objects that are addictive. It’s our weak minds that make us into addicts, more or less.

      Got to find the Force but it’s not strong in me

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  3. I read Pavel’s post with a smile. I could see where he’s coming from. The anti-digital-connectivity trend is spreading in its various forms. I started wearing a watch again a couple of years ago.

    Having said that I love my iPhone and I find it very handy for the necessities of life, let’s say. Indeed the German word “Handy” describes my usage of it accurately. But then I ditched social media quite some time ago and I no longer post photos on Flickr etc as I realised that really wasn’t where I wanted to be. Like Pavel suggests all that “liking” and “fav-ing” is rather pointless. So without social media I’ve got the phone set up in such a way that I don’t find it at all distracting, emails are strictly filtered, work emails appear on “silent”, junk mails disappear into the void along with spam calls, leaving me to look forward to the occasional blog post popping into my email box.

    I ditched my home internet connection for similar reasons of distraction though and also for being stuck in front of a screen all the time. Also I got sick and tired of the constant price hikes, having to re-negotiate the stupid contract every year and the reliance on the internet we are being forced into by everyone else. I don’t regret my decision. What use I have for the internet I can get either on my iPhone or on my computer via my iPhone. For anything else I take an analog walk by the sea to the public library where it’s free.

    With the time I’m saving I get more fresh air and exercise and I’ve now even started writing letters by hand to friends (with real ink and paper and a stamp and enclosing cuttings, photos and stuff like we used to). I find people are thanking me for it and doing likewise. Like me they’d forgotten the thrill of receiving a physical letter. Sure it costs more, ink, paper, envelopes, stamp, but the sheer physicality of the experience and delayed gratification are a perfect antidote to the digital world.

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  4. The anti-digital-connectivity trend is spreading… I most agree with you Kevin.
    Your pictures Frank remind me of my work, it’s amazing while I’m driving my truck, all the car drivers that I see doing the same thing.

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  5. Well, I don’t think my handwriting is any probably any worse now than when Miss Robinson in primary school said it looked like a spider had jumped in the inkwell and run across the page. It’s not just handwriting though, but the actual art of habitual proper letter writing itself that is disappearing. Since the internet arrived people have been write shorter and shorter communications, and the shorter and more frequent they become the less substance is communicated. We’re all living living in “Roger beep” land, a world of “bite-sized chunks”, “soundbites” and quick fixes. Well, we know where’s it’s leading photography. And for future biographers the last 25 years will be a big black hole. I’m just saying…

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  6. Very thought provoking and timely Frank. And great photos!)

    leiw liewen analog. (Och wann d’digitale Iwwersetzung hëlleft, gëtt et google)

    Ian

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  7. Thank you for bringing this up in your blog Frank. The link you posted, and the secondary link were very interesting. I have fallen for it hook line and sinker I’m afraid. I have managed to disengage from FB, which is something I guess. Well, off to check out the Nokia dumb phones now….

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  8. I thought this was just a generational thing, my kids’ phones are glued to their hands. I’ve carried a mobile phone since 1990 and smartphones since they began. My latest phone has all the bells and whistles, but as I don’t do social media it stays in my bag for most of the day. Luddites rule! 😀

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  9. I really like what Dave Hollis said above, it’s not the smartphones that are an issue, it’s how we choose to use them.

    I find my Sony phone very useful. It’s my watch, calendar, satnav, calculator, fitness tracker, camera, photo editor, messaging (SMS and WhatsApp) device, notebook, music player, handy for quick check ins online (email, Pinterest, WordPress), for checking opening times of cinemas, pools etc, and of course phone. It, like most smartphones, is a marvellous device.

    I could use another device for all of these things, and do for some, eg camera, music and online work. But when you can have one device that does all these things very well, why then carry a dozen others? More expense, more weight, more clutter, more to lose or break, why?

    The issue is making use of the phone, and remembering it is just a clever tool, not something that dictates what you do and how you spend your time. That’s down to our attitude towards the device and remembering we are in charge, and have the freedom to choose.

    We can choose to not use social media, not have notifications active, to not even having our phone turned on (or just put it out of sight and on silent mode) for large parts of the day, if that what works best for us.

    We don’t need to discard entirely these devices which can enhance our lives and how we connect with each other, just because we’re forgetting we have the freedom to choose.

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      • Lord Of The Rings is lost on me I’m afraid!

        I must admit I don’t fully understand the addiction, at least not with phones, I have experienced in other parts of life, but to things that are enjoyable in some way, like food or cameras.

        Mostly because the stuff people seem to get addicted to on phones is all so superficial and ultimately pretty pointless anyway (eg how many likes have I got on FacerGram in the five minutes since I last checked?!)… I just don’t really get why people don’t just stop using these apps/sites if they don’t like how they’re using them.

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