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With phones we’re never alone

Posted: June 16, 2014 4:49 p.m.
Updated: June 18, 2014 5:00 a.m.

I’ve said it before, but cell phones today make it so we are never alone. I was texting with a friend of mine last weekend and she asked what I was doing. I told her I was going to the pool to swim and sunbathe. She asked if anyone was going with me and I said no. We got into a dialogue about how I often do things alone and how that doesn’t seem to bother me as it does others.

When I got to the pool and was reclining in my chair, I continued a conversation with two other friends via text. I thought to myself, it doesn’t even really feel like I’m alone here because I am still talking to people. Then a thought came to me, you aren’t alone. I looked around -- there were probably 10 other people at the pool at that moment. Here they were, in the flesh, easily within talking distance, but I hadn’t even considered the fact I could talk to them if I was bored.

In fact, when I first got to the pool, I chose a chair near the stairs at the shallow end. Big mistake. Five minutes later a loud, splashy couple with their two loud, splashy children sat down in the chairs directly beside me and parked their family unit in the pool directly in front of me.

I thought, how incredibly rude, and picked up my stuff and moved as far away as I possibly could. I texted a few friends to gripe about it -- a classic example of how technology is replacing real life conversation and interaction.

No matter what, I would have gotten up and moved. I don’t appreciate loud, disruptive behavior in my immediate vicinity. While explaining the annoying situation through text messages, my thoughts turned to the dependence modern culture has upon technology for communication.

Earlier that day, I had RSVP-ed to a baby shower and sent a slew of emails from my phone. I had listened to a music playlist and watched a funny video clip on my phone. I had recorded a video of my mom and my nephew playing peek-a-boo and then sent that video to my sister on my phone. My phone has become an integral part of my life, especially my social life.

Texting has the power to influence my mood. I know that’s probably a sign that I’m too dependent upon my phone. The right text from the right person can put a big smile on my face, while the wrong text, or more commonly, the lack of the right text or any text at all from the right person can send me into a moody, pouty, raincloud mentality.

Life shouldn’t be that way. As humans, we should be living in the real world, not in the cloud of technology. These days, people maintain entire relationships through their phone. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know. I sometimes wonder what the next step is. Will we able to think-text? Will phones eventually be designed with their own personalities, preferences, ideas and memories? At times, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched a possibility.

(Haley Atkinson is the Localife editor of the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C. Email responses to hatkinson@chron icle-independent.com.)

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