Nathanial Garrod

iThoughts on the iPhone and Social Interactions

When I was 17, I got my first legit phone. I had had a phone prior to that – at the going rate of $0.25 a minute, every minute rounded up. My first “legit” phone was on MetroPCS, a Nokia that would now be considered part of ancient history – at least in the cell phone world.

Christmas 2006, I threw my phone against the wall in anger, ended up getting some Samsung flip phone. After which I switched to a slider-phone in my first year of undergrad – maybe you remember it? The purple one that I had to get replaced at least three times…

Well, recently, I decided to take a step up in the world. Leaving MetroPCS behind for the shores of a more expensive phone plan with Verizon Wireless and a fancier phone. That’s right, I got the iPhone 4S about a week ago.

Now when I text people it shows up in a cool little bubble, when I call people, I face one of the most confusing interfaces ever, and now I can check Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr from anywhere. Not to mention I can check in to my current location on FourSquare, check in to what I’m watching on GetGlue, play Words/Hanging with Friends at anytime and even download the MySpace app. As if anyone has checked their MySpace in the last three years. #useless

This would probably be a great time to drop the classic words of Ben Parker to his nephew Peter in their last conversation – “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

As incredible as it is to be able to look up movie times at the very instance that a friend says “I wonder what movies are showing at that theater?” and have an incredibly accurate GPS that shows me an awesome little dot when I get lost, there are downfalls to this technology.

You know when you’re out to lunch (or dinner) with a group of people, and no one is really saying anything? It’s kinda quiet and awkward, so everyone just pulls out their phone. I don’t know what the logic is behind this thought process. Maybe something like “Oh, maybe Facebook will tell me what to say,” or “I should tweet about how I’m at lunch with my friends (but not actually talking to them).” It’s as if we want to avoid the social burden of talking to people. I am reminded of the scene in Wall-E where all the people on the ship are driving around in their chairs and talking to their friends on a screen while sitting with their other friends.

Oh, now we are at our friends house and watching a movie that I do not really wanna see? Let me just pull out my iPhone and play [insert your favorite iPhone game here] to kill some time.

And you know when you check your phone every five or ten minutes, just to see if anything has happened? It’s not like your entire screen lights up whenever you get a call or text message. In fact, your phone might even ring or vibr- oh, lemme check my phone real quick.

Nope. No new messages.

What are your thoughts on smartphones? Are they good or bad? Positive or negative?

2 Comments on “iThoughts on the iPhone and Social Interactions

  1. stephen k
    November 26, 2011

    I too got an iPhone 4S. I’ve had smart phones since 2007 (two Palms and one Android POS). There’s always a need to just… check things. For me, it’s more play games that I enjoy.

    I don’t think it’s a problem; I’m not as social as you are, but I’m not playing my gams when I’m out or during dinner, etc.

  2. Erin
    November 28, 2011

    I’ve never really encountered the problem of texting or playing games while with friends. I don’t have a smartphone (yet) so I notice when people aren’t paying any attention to what we’re doing because of the phone. Usually if you say something about it, they’ll put the phone away.

    Smartphones are pretty amazing. I think it’s amazing that we can have all that information readily accessible in the palm of our hands. It’s reassuring that I can check that important work email or find my way out of Oakland (which I always seem to get lost in). That said, I think they’re only good in moderation. Perhaps only the people mature enough not to rely on it for social interaction should have one.

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