The Big, Dirty S Word

smartphoneDear Reader,

I really didn’t want to do this. For so long, in fact since it came out, I have fought against the very idea of owning one. I told myself that I didn’t need it, that I believed in anti-conformity, that I didn’t want to be just like everyone else. I would see all the people who had one and watch as they clutched to it like a baby would to a doll, telling me (or others) that they were “completely addicted” to it and “couldn’t imagine living without it.” I told myself that I would never be one of those people.

Now, however, things have changed, and I am thinking of getting the very thing I once refused to add into my vocabulary: a smartphone.

I am aware that crazes happen for a reason. Millions of people would not have a smartphone if it didn’t mean anything to them. I know that there are certain advantages to having a smartphone. You can get updates on current events, you can e-mail friends or co-workers, you can send documents, you can interact on social media, you can use all of those apps (whatever they are for), and, most importantly, you can take selfies of yourself at every conceivable location and upload them on Facebook in order to show your friends how much of a fulfilling life you have.

As surprising as this may seem, I’m not actually getting a smartphone to take swimsuit selfies of myself. I’m getting one (or at least thinking of getting one) so that I can be more available for some freelance editing gigs that I am getting into (more on that later). I also have a dayjob (technically a nightjob based on the hours) that requires staff to have an e-mail. While e-mailing is not a very crucial part of the job, it would be nice to get updates when I am away from my computer.

However, I’m still so uncertain about all of this. I have heard all of the horror stories of people who get a smartphone and then spend every conceivable moment on it.

So, to help with this, I’m asking you: Do you have a smartphone? Is it for personal use or business? Is it possible to just use this thing for what really matters (increased availability) or will I too become sucked into the land of conformity?

I’d love to hear your responses. Let me know in the comments down below.

Sincerely,

Charlie

*Photo Courtesy of media.cleveland.com.

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28 Responses to The Big, Dirty S Word

  1. Charlie –

    I currently do not own a smartphone. My phone is over five years old and I’m very certain the Neanderthals had it during their time.

    I would get one if it meant I could use it for my work. So, if you sincerely think it would be beneficial to obtain one, then I say why not. I can’t promise you won’t be one of the hundred people I see everyday tapping away on their little precious.

    They do offer some great benefits. There are kindle and nook apps for reading on it which is tempting for me. Hey, I have my nose buried in a book or my writing while out in public…what’s the difference really? Everyone has their thing.

    • Yeah, it’s something I’m still considering. There are advantages to it, but I just need to make sure that it can be used *just* for business.
      The reading apps might be nice….
      -Charlie

  2. I still use an old Nokia E71 on its second battery. I think it tried to call itself a smartphone when it first came out but all the real smart phones laughed at it. I used to be able to surf the net with it, sort of, until recently more and more websites refuse to display correctly, if at all. And apps? they only write apps for iPhones and Android, not Symbian. No phone makers even use the Symbian operating system any more. It’s embarrassing.
    Having said all that the Nokia Ovi maps and GPS navigation are awesome! Oh, and I can still make phone calls and send texts, too.
    But, like you I see the need to be available online more often, as a requirement of anyone with an online presence these days, so I am considering buying a Google Nexus 5.

      • Same reason I bough the E71 many years ago. I’m too lazy to spend much time researching phones so I read a couple of reviews after asking my colleagues what they reckon is a good phone at the moment. Apparently the Google phones and the Moto series are hardware designed specifically for Android and Android isn’t tweaked with other manufacturer’s bloatware crap.
        Was also considering the Moto X.

  3. I use one – mainly for the convenience of being able to have a phone wherever you are. It is handy – but with problems attached. Texting is okay when needed and cheap. But to ignore people and become a bore by never having personal contact or talking to people seems all wrong to me. I personally rarely text in public or check my phone either. Used right it’s a great device, but it’s turning many people into boring people I find.

    • You are right, in that either way (smartphone or no dumb phone) is going to have pros and cons. I definitely want to avoid being one of those people who “spends time” with their friends by sitting on a bench and staring at their phone the whole time.
      -Charlie

  4. Yesterday, I read the Pew Report on Smartphone Ownership (2013), which said that a majority of Americans now have a smartphone. I was relatively late to join this group, but I’m glad I did. I resisted because I didn’t want to be tied to my email (a professional obligation). This resistance just made my life more difficult for too long. I still don’t use it as much as other people do (when it rings, I usually ignore it!), but that’s only because I seem to spend the majority of my time on my lap top or Kindle.

    • You offer up a good point: I don’t always have to respond to the thing when it rings.
      Your reasoning for getting a phone is similar to what I am thinking. I don’t want to purposely make my life more difficult than it should be.
      -Charlie

  5. I use my smartphone (and now my tablet) for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING I do on the internet. Blogging, photography, editing, animation, music, the lot, and I’m now very nearly a ninja with the Android system.
    I can get it to do pretty much anything I like, the advantage being I always have the same format with me at all times, enabling me to blog on the go, take photos, shoot video, check my social networks and follow other blogs via e-mail.
    I don’t consider it a craze or a luxury anymore, it’s an essential part of my life, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

  6. Love my smartphone! I have a Nokia Lumia 930: it synchs with my computer documents and lets me work on manuscripts when I’m out and about (ie, at work). It’s a Windows phone, so everything I have on my personal computer, I also have access to on my phone.

  7. Charlie, I was exactly the same as you about smartphones. I objected furiously when the phone manufacturers began marketing phones that played radio – I was indignant that a phone should do anything other than calls and texts. I fought against multi functional phones for years, and was a confirmed Nokia girl (I once strayed into the new territory of a different symbian make, and was utterly lost outside my familiar Nokia interface. It went back inside two days) until almost exactly one year ago today. My Nokia was playing up. My Mother was getting increasingly frustrated that I never replied IMMEDIATELY to emails from her, whilst her darling daughter-in-law seemed to reply straight back. I tried explaining that, because I’m ill, disabled and in bed a lot, it’s a major effort to drag myself out of bed and into my office to check my laptop, just on the off-chance that Mum had emailed me. I assumed my sis-in-law was permanently attached to her work computer. She’s a bit of a techno geek, whereas I am really not (although I confess I would like to be). Then, by virtue of discussions with my friends on your other favourite site, good old FB, I learnt about smartphones and email and web surfing on the move. It dawned on me that my s-i-l had one of these things, hence her Rapid Response ability.

    I investigated further. I was enthralled. I was even more enthralled when I found a deal that gave me a free smartphone, unlimited data, unlimited texts, plus some free voice minutes (the signal at home is mostly too feeble for receiving voice calls anyway, so the lack of unlimited minutes meant little) all for around £15 a month LESS than I was paying for my existing contract, which I was using with a Nokia I had bought 2nd hand on ebay because Nokia had stopped making new phones with real buttons to push on them.

    Anyway, I ended up with a phablet. So much better having a larger screen. So much easier to read and write text messages. And the joy of keeping on top of my Mother’s emails! Mine’s an android, and I think mine was one of the first really significantly big-screen phone/tablet hybrids. Apple have since produced the 6S, which is almost as big as my Galaxy Note.

    Another deal maker for me was that my phone comes with a stylus for accurate typing, drawing, whatever, and it lets me make notes to myself, as indicated in its name. If I have an idea, I can zap it straight into my phone, no rummaging around for another notebook (I am a confirmed stationery addict) or a pen that works.

    I, too, have become one of those people I swore I never would be – my life is now in my phone and I would be lost without it. It’s simply such a convenience to have this relatively small, infinitely portable device that I can do web stuff on – research, FB, email, IMDB when we can’t remember where we’ve seen that actor before, TV guides, shopping etc – plus any of my Kindle books are available to read if I’m ever stuck somewhere and need something to do, as well as all the apps – apps are amazing! All this, and I still get messages (via FB) and texts. I wouldn’t want to be without it.

    Things change!

    Lexi. X

    • That’s very true. I suppose it’s my choice if/when to turn the phone off. I think I am still just slightly stuck in the same attitude that both of us had/have, which is that anything other than a flip phone is out of the question. The more I think about it, though, the more handy it seems, especially now that I’ll be on social media more because of music.
      You’ve given me a lot to think about! 🙂

          • Lol! U prob are, compared to me!
            I use a torch app which is like a lighthouse, with front and rear beams (called simply, “Torch”), Hullo Mail for picking up messages (avoids my ph provider charges), weather apps, TV Player apps, Sky Go, SMS Backup and Restore, various calculators, Houzz (a design app), a keyboard called iKeyboard (even though my ph is android), Microsoft Office (whole suite free on android now, tho still $s on laptops), a few ph apps that hold yr place in customer service queues without using yr minutes, or neutralise premium rate number charges, messenger (FB messenger), Vevo, Citymapper, City Maps2Go, a bunch of eye health apps that give you tests and exercises to do (Eye Care Plus, Colour Sense, Eye Trainer), Skype, Human To Cat (allegedly translates human voice to cat language….unsure it works, but it does stop my cats dead in their tracks and makes them stare incredulously at me, so God knws what I’m saying to them), Cat Whistle Pro Trainer, Cat Alone (a range of on-screen cat toys, like bugs and laser lights darting across the screen), and Assistant. I’ve got a sleep analyser app that reckons it can work out how much deep sleep, dream sleep, and REM sleep you’ve had each night, a Dream Talk Recorder if I’ve been talking in my sleep (which bf tells me I have spates of), an MP3 Video Converter, A Better Camera, Sudoku, Blendoku (a colour thing), Kindle, and various shopping apps, World Clocks, normal alarm clock, and one shoot ’em up game, called Agent Shooter.
            I tend to avoid apps that demand what I think are irrelevant permissions, and I only ever download the free ones, but there are hundreds and hundreds of pay-apps that do awesome things. I’ve got a voice recorder free app on my ipad, which I use to record V/O auditions/read-thrus for specific scripts to send direct to my agent when he needs to convince a client, there’s probably a similar one for android too.
            There are fitness apps, health apps, productivity apps, creativity apps, photo apps, music apps – there really does seem to be an app for any and everything you can think of! 🙂 Oh, I think I’ve got a compass somewhere on there, too.

          • You could go to the Google Play Store, or the Apple equiv, and check some categories out, see what mind-boggling things some of these apps can do. I think your jaw will hit the floor like mine did. Tech review sites are full of recommendations, too.

  8. Wow, that is incredible. I always thought the phrase “there’s an app for everything” was just marketing. Now, though….

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