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comment by oyster
oyster  ·  1008 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The saddest poem

Yikes, I tend to not use my phone much which I attribute to living in a mountain town for months with crappy service. When it's not convenient you stop caring so because of this I tend to notice more when others are on their phones a lot. I've also noticed how uncomfortable people are with just interacting with the world around them as if that disconnectedness sticks with them long after they put the phone down. I'm not sure which came first, the disconnectedness or the phone. Maybe they always felt disconnected and the phone takes their mind off it. So instead of awkwardly sitting there and knowing you don't connect with a group now you can awkwardly sit there and ignore the reality of how much you can't connect with a group.

bfv  ·  1008 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've managed to avoid ever owning a cell phone. I am sure some job will force one on me eventually, but I want less connectedness, not more. Having to be available for extended periods of time makes me claustrophobic, I don't think I'd ever stop being on edge if I had a phone with me all the time.

bhrgunatha  ·  1008 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I bought a Nokia 110 dumb phone because all I want is text and phone.

Part of the decision was seeing the effect smart phones have on people; it's so common now to see 2 people sharing lunch with them both just staring down at their screens. Part of the decision was because I knew I would be just exactly the same.

I make a very strict line between work time and non-work time which I think has disappeared for a lot of people.

Sometimes I just turn my phone off - even when there is battery left!

AnSionnachRua  ·  1007 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm right with you there. Just the other day I was asked by one of my young Italian students why I don't have a smartphone. Instead, I have this:$L1-Thumbnail$

I'm no stranger to mindless interest browsing, but I do enough of that at home on my laptop, and the thought of being able to check Facebook every thirty seconds terrifies me. It alarms me that people can't sit on the bus and just think about things during their twenty minute commute, but instead have to listen to music or play a game or chat on Whatsapp - have to have constant access to stimulation.

Not that I'd be one to lambast all of these uses; I just find them very jarring. There's always a moment during a night at the pub when one person starts to look at their phone, slowly prompting a chain reaction until everyone is doing it and I'm just twiddling my thumbs waiting for everyone to come back. It also seems to have become more socially acceptable to look at your phone while talking to someone, which I find quite impolite.

And then there's the ceaseless photo-taking...

But ultimately - depending on your own social environment - you do start to get left behind in certain ways. More and more often I find myself unaware of some planned event and when I ask about it people say "Wait, aren't you in the Whatsapp group?" It's just like being in university and people forgetting to invite you to things because they assume you're on Facebook.

thenewgreen  ·  1008 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The native Americans described the European settlers as having crazed, insane eyes. My guess is that the "distractedness" was already there prior to the phone. It's just a new opus for us to pour ourselves in to rather than being present.

cW  ·  1008 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I loved this account ... well, in the sense that I was also terrified by it. It's interesting ... I expect that the distraction was already there at that time, but that time was still much less subdivided. Moments, entire hours, evenings, could pass by without interruption, I imagine. It's not as if telegraphs didn't occasionally break up a scene. They were much more costly to send than texts, though, I think.

Persons' energies were already very much distracted though -- distracted by self-definition, narrative, recrimination, the vanquishing of imaginary foes. Still, destructive as all of this must have been to serenity, technology has brought in another layer of stultification. The constant end-of-scene/thought/conversation sponsored by phone/text/tweet/commercial break has, I think, introduced a whole new level of consciousness demolition. That's why escaping interruption, however costly it may be, is an increasingly crucial transgression.