So, I Bought an iPhone

Last night, with fear and trembling, I bought an iPhone 4S.

For years, I’ve been living in the dark ages with my flip phone:

Well, until yesterday I didn’t have either one. Now I still don’t have a tv, but I have a snazzy phone, and I’m excited at the possibilities.

But I’m also a little nervous. Because these smart phones can be a blessing–but they can also be a curse.

The Blessing

Back in 2000 or 2001, I read a book about communication. I don’t remember the title, or the author, but I remember this: cell phones were coming into common usage then, and so was criticizing cell phone users as rude. But the author made an eloquent point for the virtue of cell phones, and it’s stuck with me.

The author said that long ago, people worked together: in the fields or the workshop, shopping in the market or tending the babies. But now most of us are isolated in our tiny cars and personal workspaces, separated from the ones we love. The cell phone bridges the gap, and allows us to communicate with our closest friends while we’re at the bank, or grabbing lunch, or in carpool line. Wherever we are throughout the day, we can stay connected to the ones we love, and that’s a good thing.

The Curse

There’s been a lot of talk on the interwebs lately about the dangers of connectedness–how it pulls us away from our real lives and real relationships, and might actually be making us crazy. Andrea shared why she finally deleted twitter and Facebook from her phone, and Sarah Mae is even soliciting stories about internet addiction for a new ebook:

It makes me a little nervous that I’ve just purchased one of these devices to carry around in my pocket.

I’m aware of the tension between my 3d relationships and constant connectedness, and I hope that bodes well for my future relationship with my family and my iPhone. But in the meantime, would you share?

How do you navigate this tension in your own life?

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Comments

  1. says

    I think it’s hilarious that you have a Jon Acuff quote here, because in my blog reader roll thingy this morning, three entries down from your post was this one on Jon’s blog:
    http://www.jonacuff.com/blog/the-new-plan/
    about what he’s going to do when people ignore him for their iPhone. :D

    Anyway. Kudos to you for getting one! I am still in the dark ages…I don’t even OWN a cell phone. Cough.

    My parents told me in high school that if I got a job and could pay for one myself, I could have it.
    Well, I got a job. But I had more important things to get with my paychecks.
    So I never got a cell phone.
    And since then, there have ALWAYS been more important things to get with my paychecks.
    We have a landline with unlimited long distance, and it’s not that expensive. My husband does have a cell, nothing fancy, that we share.

    And, we do have a TV, but…no cable. :D Because we have internet, streaming via Netflix, and a video store right downstairs!

  2. says

    I have a smart phone (go Android!) and love it. And there are definite reasons I feel I truly “need” it. For instance, we do a lot of traveling, and quite a bit of it is by myself (when hubby is off with the Army). It sure is handy to have GPS and email (etc) with me so I don’t get lost and can stay in touch with family while I’m away. I also love having things to do on my phone when I’m waiting at an airport, or the doctor’s, or waiting to pick my husband up from school. Of course now I also have my kindle, but I don’t always feel like reading. :) And it’s also handy for the days when I’m out all day – I can read my emails as they come in, and not have to spend an hour checking them all when we get home.

    It also really helps me with my fitness goals – LOVE the cardio trainer app, and myfitnesspal. Easy to track calories and exercise, and be reminded to workout when I need it.

    On the other hand, it requires discipline to not be on there ALL the time. I’ve learned to focus on where I am right then, and who I am with – if I’m by myself, why not be on my phone? But other real-life people are far more important than sending tweets or checking everyone’s updates on facebook. So I have those on my phone, but I seriously limit when I use them.

    But if someone can’t discipline themselves to ignore the message alert, or to leave their phone on silent every so often, they should seriously re-think the whole smart phone idea.

  3. says

    Meh. We got smartphones (Android, the DDH is vehemently anti-iPhones for reasons that he could tell you but I could not) exactly a year ago. I notice that I use it mostly like a normal phone, though–that is, for texting. The problem that I had with my normal cell phone (obsessively checking for texts) is the same problem I have with the smartphone.

    I rarely check my email or hop on FaceBook from the phone, because I’m still in the habit of carrying a book in my purse (now a Kindle, actually) for when I’m stuck in a waiting room or a long line. But sometimes it feels silly to pull out a book, or I’ll just feel like checking the internet instead of reading. It’s one of those nice-to-have-but-don’t-need-it things. Plus, I don’t typically get on the computer when I’m at home, so occasionally popping in on my phone is the only way I check social media/email on the weekends.

    The DDH uses way more (his work and personal emails are both sent there), but he’s mostly the opposite of someone who can’t put it down–half the time I can’t reach him because he forgot to turn his phone off silent or left it upstairs. And we don’t have a home phone, so that’s a problem.

    My favorite things are 1) being able to Google stuff at will (price comparisons, answers to questions that pop up in Bible study, etc.), 2) the ease of taking and sharing pictures (even though my phone camera is terrible, my blogs would be completely unillustrated otherwise), and 3) my shopping/pantry inventory app.

    We caught a $15 price difference at Lowe’s on Sunday that we never would have noticed except for my obsessive habit of entering the price of everything I’m buying into the app so I know exactly how much I’ll be spending, including tax. And since I’ve entered the prices of items I buy regularly, I can put them on my shopping list and get a realistic estimate of how much I need in my grocery budget for any given week, as well as track price changes.

  4. says

    We’ve had the same phones since we got married…so that’s three years now. Did they even make smartphones then?

    I feel the pull more and more to be able to text or send photos of my little one to my parents (especially with a second one on the way), but our budget says no…and I’m okay with that. One less thing to distract me is probably a good thing.

    For now. ;)

    • Suzette @ jambalaya says

      Right there with you!! My husband has one for work…we will be claiming it for work apparently on taxes (way too early to have the nitty gritty on that). I wish I was more “Ok” not having one, but really I would love one because I am SICK of my cheap-o pink flip phone that has no reception, has broken after six months (literally taped together) and constantly decides to just not send text messages. Anyway! Budget!

      • says

        My husband uses his for work too. Never thought of claiming it on taxes!
        Also, because of the amount of data he uses, it was actually cheaper for us to both have a smart phone, than one with and one without. Might be something worth checking out at your local corporate cellphone store.

        • Suzette @ jambalaya says

          Thanks! :) Just might do that! At 39 weeks pregnant maybe it can become my “congrats you had a baby!” gift. Ha!

  5. says

    Wow! This is going to be quite the change for you. My best friend just upgraded Monday from a flip phone to an iPhone- I’m still in shock.

    I got my Blackberry when I moved to Nashville, after 4 years with a Nokia flip phone. I wanted to check email and update FB (wasn’t on Twitter at that point) whether I was home or traveling. It can be addictive having all that information just a click away. I’m trying to train myself to leave my phone nearby but not next to me when I’m home for the night. That way I can hear it ring if someone calls me but I’m not a slave to the notifications. I know some people turn off push notifications altogether but that trick doesn’t work on me unless I’m in the car for long periods of time. If I’m out with a friend, I do my best not to check my phone unless they’ve stepped away for a minute or I’ve let them know I’m expecting an important email/phone call, etc. I want to be fully present with them. I never talk on the phone when I’m in line at a store or bank or wherever. As someone who worked retail for years, I know how annoying and frustrating it was to try to help someone who was too busy on their phone to pay attention to the task at hand. It’s plain rude.

    I’m sure you’ll navigate the tension well!

  6. says

    I remember when we were in the Verizon store and the guy asked us why we wanted Smartphones (to find out which ones we needed) and since I couldn’t reply, “So I can fit in…” I said, “So I can check facebook when I am just sitting waiting.” Cause I do that *a lot*.

    But its nice. I like to play games while I watch TV. I get bored just sitting and watching TV.

  7. says

    I borrowed my husband’s iPhone for a week while our internet was down after the big thunderstorm. I know now I should never own a smartphone. I compulsively checked my e-mail and blog stats for almost seventy-two hours straight. As a result paid less attention to my son and was an extremely distracted driver. Maybe some people can be responsible being connected all the time, but I sure can’t!

    • Suzette @ jambalaya says

      I think I agree I’d be the same…and since our budget says no, I’m having to cope! :) Probably for the best!

  8. says

    I’m still in the dark ages with no smart phone! :-)

    In all honesty, I don’t see myself holding out much longer than a year though before I get one. I was completely fine until my baby came along, and now I can’t really sit down with my computer at all during the day because he needs me. A phone would allow those quick checks without compromising my son’s needs. We don’t have a tablet either, which may be nice instead.

  9. says

    Well, I don’t navigate it very well. I definitely use my iPhone as a crutch to fill in the dead space…and not so dead space. I’m getting ready to go on a media fast in two weeks and it will be hard, but I’m ready. I’ve done it before and it was hard but doable.

  10. says

    I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone in May and it was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. It’s true–smart phones become mysteriously addicting, but I think if you are conscious of this pull, you won’t become a iphone hermit. :)

  11. says

    So, last year my husband gave me an iphone for my birthday….and I returned it.
    And I could tell that the guy at the store was really confused.
    Who does that?

    Part of me really wants one…especially for the photo sending and quick access to the internet when a question comes up…or for when we’re traveling and want to find the nearest Thai food place or because I want to know if “that” book is cheaper on amazon or because we all like thinking up funny questions to ask Siri.

    But honestly…smartphones also scare me.
    This spring I was at our kiddos’ swim lessons and I looked down the line of moms and it felt like I was on a hidden camera tv show. There were about 25 moms sitting there and NOT ONE was watching their kid swim or talking to the person sitting next to them…they were all texting or writing or doing something on their phones. All looking down. Total isolation IN REAL LIFE. Missed opportunities (at least from my perspective).

    It kind of reminded me of that movie….Wall E…was that that movie? Where everyone on the ship never leaves their motorized chair…and for some reason it seems normal to them?

    I guess that’s the thing…it scares me when all that starts to seem normal.
    And I’m not sure I trust my own will-power & self-discipline.

    But yes…even just yesterday I was thinking about the smartphone possibility again.
    I’m still really torn.

    • Elisabeth says

      Kara–TOTALLY!! I have had that exact premonition (the scenes from WALL-E), and shudder to to think of it!

      I still have a flip phone, and although I do feel the tension (I borrow my husband’s iPhone 3 now and then), I am glad I still don’t have a smartphone for now. However, whenever my husband upgrades (he’s holding out for the iPhone 5), I may end up with his old one. Part of me hopes it breaks before long, though, lol…

      PS–People may scoff, but I believe it’s advisable to NOT carry your phone–smart or otherwise–in your pocket. More studies are revealing the dangerous effects of having those EMFs close to our bodies. Even carrying it in a purse would be better, and using speakerphone or texting as often as possible as opposed to holding against the ear.

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