Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 21, 2012

VINCENT DAVIS: Is your cell phone ruining your life?

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I don’t think I am alone when I say that my cell phone is ruining my life.

Conversing via telephone used to be simple, you’d call your friend, ask their mom if they could come outside and play and then you met them outside. So easy a child could do it, but today; someone calls me and I silence the ringer, unlock my phone (via a swipe pattern I always mess up the first time) and send a text that asks “what up?”

Not to be the young Andy Rooney, but forget cell phones, I miss the days of the public phone booth.

It used to be that in order to embarrass yourself you had to do something stupid in front of someone who was a reliable source who would then recount your moment of shame to the people that you both knew. All scandals had a relatively short shelf life and could only spread to a limited number of people.

That is not the case in an post-iPhone world, just ask Brett Favre circa 2010 (sexting scandal), Anthony Weiner (‘private photo’ tweeted to the world) or Greek Olympic Triple Jumper Voula Papachristou (Twitter is not the place for racist jokes).

You don’t even have to be famous to be immortalized in the hall of great #fails, just ask anyone who has appeared in a viral video like “hipsters falling on ice” a Youtube video compilation of cell phone-shot videos of young people falling on an icy corner in Brooklyn.

For many years I, like many of you, lived in blissful ignorance with a non-smart phone that received sideways glances from my ‘technology savvy’ friends, but handled the essentials (calling, texting) with aplomb. As someone known as a destroyer of phones (20+ phones in 4 years) I knew never get too attached as this phone would only be visiting me for a short time before it fell out of my pocket, down an insanely long flight of stairs and into a puddle (actually happened to me).

My last phone (Sidekick LX, 2009) lasted longer than my other phones, so I got a slick Android phone that boasts all of the organizational tools I would need to be a modern man in this fast-paced world. While it is slick (it always slides off of my car’s dashboard) and does have a calendar it has basically become the bane of my existence. I change the wallpaper compulsively and it’s been a month, but I still can’t get everyone’s Facebook photos to match up to their contact info.

In the wake of the iPhone 5 pre-orders opening up I would like to point out that having “an app for that’ doesn’t mean I’ll know how to use it, or how to change the security settings so it doesn’t update my Facebook and Twitter with the time and location of the place where I’m waking up (I’m looking at you Uniqlo Wake Up app).

Once you do figure out your favorite apps, Apple, or Google, or whoever, will undoubtedly release an update that makes your favorite feature not work at all (RIP Google Maps on ios6).

I realize that technology marches on and the cellular revolution isn’t all bad; the other day I was describing a hilarious Youtube video to a friend when I realized that instead of giving a play by play, I could show them the video on the phone/computer that I keep in my pocket, it’s amazing futuristic stuff.

But seriously, I’d trade all of the hipsters falling on ice videos in the world for a weekend without texting.

Vincent Davis II is a Cornell graduate, DJ, and market development specialist in the IT industry. His column appears on the second and fourth Friday of every month. He can be contacted at vincedavis06@gmail.com