Hi. My name is Erin, and I’m a smartphoneaholic.I’m addicted to hunting down wifi hotspots. I engage in antisocial behaviour and text in the middle of conversations, and on the odd occassion even have hid in a pub bathroom for a quick email hit. I’m out until all hours on apps. My family have even been affected by my habit after I skipped the country with my global roaming still on and a pile of unpaid phone bills still on my desk.
Recently, I have decided to give up my smartphone. Okay, maybe ‘decided’ and ‘give up’ aren’t the most accurate words. I’ve become phoneless after my iPhone decided to take a little 2am swim through my washing machine. I am now rocking out on an old brick-style phone that still claims Snake and polyphonic ringtones as highlight features.
There are the occassional withdrawal symptoms, like the way my hand twitches at my pocket eveytime I hear the old-telephone style ringtone, and my occassional sense of hopelessness when I find myself lost and can’t rely on Google maps, but all in all, life goes on after the smartphone. In fact, being smartphoneless is one of the most simple yet liberating experiences someone of this day and age can achieve.
I undoubtedly will one day return to the world of Instagram and Fatbooth, but at the moment I am enjoying the nine little ways my life has become better without my smartphone.
I am no longer using my smartphone as a clock and alarm. Apparently, they have these things called alarm clocks to do that. I no longer wake up at 3am to check the time, get side tracked by a couple of SMS and Facebook updates that have popped up overnight, and end up surfing my Facebook and news websites for an hour before I realise what I’m doing.
It’s not so scary being unconnected. Being smartphoneless has allowed me to go back to the days where someone will simply call or text if they need. They can’t get me on Viber. They can’t get me on WhatsApp. They can’t get me on Snapchat. They can’t get me on Facebook 24/7. They can’t get me on Facebook chat. The can’t get me on Words With Friends messenger. The can’t get me on email 24/7. They can’t get me on BBM. They can’t get me on the Skype app. Having a smartphone gives you no excuse to not be in contact. Now, the part of my brain that was always aware of the 50 different mediums people were using to contact me has shut down. Life seems a little slower, a little less frantic, and I’ve realised I won’t lose friends if I don’t get back to them instantly.
Since going without a smartphone, I’ve rediscovered a lot of gadgets, but it is the camera that is my main object of affection making a comeback in my post-smartphone life. During my trip to Wales, I realised just how awesome my camer is, and have rediscovered my love of it. It has a few little groovy features on it, but unlike Instagram, it is honest and unforgiving if you take a shit pic. It also has helped kick the habit our generation has picked up of photographing everything. Needless to say, the amount of photos of me holding a drink on just another average day has reduced significantly.
Improved social life
You have all seen that scene at the pub where everyone has their phones out and have lost the ability to communicate. That, thank God, is no longer me. When I go out with mates, I am now there 100%. If they wan’t to get in touch with me, they call. It’s simple, but it is bloody nice to get a phone call sometimes; another rare feature of our generation. We talk for three minutes and decide to go out, rather than drag out the details over an hour of texts. When we do go out, I’m no longer sitting at the pub having a half-arsed conversation with someone on Facey, a brief text on Viber, and inserting the occassional ‘yea’ into the coversation spilling unnoticed over the table in front of me that makes friends feeling as if they’re boring and inferior. I don’t have to exhaustingly know where everyone is all the time, and I don’t have to tell everyone where I am all the time. It would be unacceptable if someone brought their computer to the pub and was typing away all night, I don’t know when it became acceptable just because computers now come in phone form.
Hangovers have improved
I am no longer waking up with that panic that comes after a night out where you know you’ve mixed tequila with social media. I have almost eradicated my drunken Facebook statuses, halved my drunk texts due to the complexity of sending a text on a brick, and have no way of getting into my bank account at 3am to transfer money from my savings onto my card for the next shout.
Improved organisation skills
I am in a retro internet cafe writing this on my first holiday without a smartphone in years. I had to be a lot more organised for this trip, as being unconnected has eliminated the ability to just ‘go with the flow’ we have all aquired with the help of smartphones. I have no Google maps to get me to my hotel, no internet to quickly look up the next bus times, and no Facebook access to stay in touch with people I’m catching up with. And guess what, I have still survived.
I no longer spend 50 per cent of my life charging up my smartphone, and the other 50 per cent looking for a charger for my dying phone. My brick has been going strong for five days now. Now THAT’S impressive, Apple.
I am back to pre-paid mobile. I am not locked into a contract that you have to murder your first born to get out of. I am not forking out cash on accessories to stop my brick from smashing into a thousand pieces and attaining the compulsory smartphone shattered screen.
I have a fool proof phone.
I once spent a night bawling at the pub after someone stole my iPhone. I could leave my brick phone on a silver platter in Brixton and no one would even look at it. It’s purely unbreakable. And if I ever put it through the wash again, I won’t give a toss about what happens to it.