Monday, January 24, 2011

Quit Tweeting Your iPhone in MySpace or I'll Punch You in the Facebook

I recently dropped my cellphone for the 1000th time...and that last one was finally the one that did it. My phone was over 3 years old and it's a virtual dinosaur compared to all the idiot phones everyone has surgically attached to their hands these days.

I called up my local customer service agent in India to see how much a new phone would cost me.

I was treated to a 3 minute "smart" phone sales pitch if I would only sign a 2 year contract extension, plus an activation fee for data services, including unlimited text messaging, email and web surfing.

In short, I could double my current phone bill just so I can carry around an internet connection 24/7.

I told the sales rep in India that I couldn't afford it at that time and cut him off before he could garble out his call center customer service up-selling script response from his computer screen in his Indian accent.

After thinking about it for a awhile, I headed down to the drug store and bought a pre-paid "track" phone sold under the brand of my current cell phone provider for $20. I pulled out the SIM card from my broken phone, slapped it into the new phone, turned it on and laughed out loud.

No 5 mega-pixel camera.
No slide out QWERTY keyboard for "blazing fast texting!"
No 6 gig mp4 player.
No GPS system, or download-able apps.
No hip-hop, rap, rock or country ring tones.

Just a phone.

To make phone calls.

What a novel concept.

See, I've noticed that more and more people everywhere are becoming social media "smart" phone zombies.

At malls, parks, sporting events, concerts, parties, public transportation, bars, restaurants, in traffic, at weddings, funerals and baby birthday parties, I see more and more people looking down at their hand held devices at any given moment, absorbed in their own little cyber-world of disassociated, de-personalized socialization.

I'm sick to death of it.

I see people in the middle of conversations at parties, or meals at public restaurants interrupt the living breathing person in front of them, and without even so much as an "excuse me," to look down at one of these idiot phones.

Worse yet, I've been to parties where over half the people are standing around, letting their beverages get warm and conversation is almost non-existant while everyone is tweeting, youtubing, googling, facebooking, blogging, texting, sexting, real-time chatting, online shopping and porn surfing....all for $70 a month of unlimited bandwidth!

I was at a party in Las Vegas the other day, observing a group of people doing just this. And the ones who weren't in the middle of looking at their little obsession boxes, would still neurotically glance down at their devices every minute or so...desperately hoping for a text, or a tweet, or a call, or SOMETHING so they could have the chance to deploy their device and join in on the fun the rest of the party-goers seemed to be so preoccupied with.

It's like watching a bunch of lab rats hitting the lever for the next hit of crack.

Since I had no one to talk to, as I don't have a smart phone of my own, I began to sit in the corner with my beverage and ruminate. One of the memes of the conspiracy theory genre of the internets was the idea that eventually our overlords would have we the Sheeple implanted with RFID chips just like the humane society does with cats and dogs, so that Big Mother would be able to monitor our wherabouts 24/7.

The idea sounds for which should the Government come forward and announce that chip implantation of the general populace would begin, I imagine there would be a mass revolt.

Except....who needs to force the people to have a chip implanted in their skin so that their exact GPS coordinates, their interpersonal conversations, their sex fetishes, their relationship status or their general mood could be tracked by an extensive electronic surveillance matrix at any given time...when you can just call them "smart phones" and get people to PAY to carry it with them wherever they go?


The Great and Powerful Oz said...

The Government isn't smart enough to pull tnat off. It's whoever is pulling their strings from the shadows.

The cellphone addictions I see are pretty disturbing. Have we really become that disconnected?

On the lighter side, I reacommend watching "The President's Analyst"

Anonymous said...

Nah...the government didn't really have to pull it off. They just have the ability to get cell phone companies to turn the users records over without a warrant. Remember PATRIOT Acts I & II?

Lando said...

The curator had an article eerily similar to this last November. I suggest you read it, because it hilariously shows the ridiculousness the state communication is in nowadays.

"While it is possible to convey certain universal experiences such as: “Hey, look at me, I’m wearing sunglasses” and “I love you so much, hearts are literally exploding out of my face,” it is far more difficult to convey the nuance of human expression through emoticons."

Simon Grey said...

complaining about technology on a blog = lol.

Seriously, though, the issue isn't really technology. The problem is that kids these days are self-absorbed grade A narcissists. Technology exacerbates this problem, but even if they didn't have their smartphones, they would still be self-absorbed, and they would still sit around at parties, not making shallow conversation.

And kids these days are like this because their parents never cared to teach them to look beyond themselves. Their all worthless.

There is no conspiracy: everyone is pretty open about their selfishness. The companies sell these devices as a way to fuel narcissism, people buy them in order to remain wrapped up in their own little word. That's what's great about America: you can pay people to encourage self-destructive behavior, and you don't even have to be ashamed of that fact. Man, I love this country.

MarkyMark said...

I'm with you HL; I have a 'pay as you go' arrangement too. Even though my phone does have a camera feature, I've rarely used it. The last time I used it was when working on my bike. I took pictures of the assembly I was working on, so I could see what went where when I put things back together again...

singlextianman said...

I"m doing something similar - recently got an Android tablet (the Samsung Galaxy), and spend 20$/month on a minimal data plan. Basically, my "smart phone" without the phone. Still using an old "dumb" cell phone for about 26$/month, which price my provider is locked into until I change the plan. When the phone craps out I'll do as you have done. I actually do use the connectivity and features of the tablet; but I'm spending about 50 a month on my "plan" instead of the hundred I would be spending if I ran out and got an Evo or Crackberry or some such.

Will S. said...

Elusive Wapiti has a post up about a dumb broad who fell into a mall fountain while texting while walking, who is apparently suing.

Somebody commented that NY and AK are considering outlawing walking while texting. I dunno; not only would such legislation be an infringement on civil liberties, but it means we won't have the opportunity to remove such dumb broads from the gene pool when they inevitably step in front of a car or truck or train, as will happen if it hasn't already.

djc said...

I still have the same RAZR V3 I got 5 or 6 years ago. And I receive so few calls that some days I just leave it off. Had to buy a new battery for it (15 bucks) last year, and it's as good as new. It's all I need.

An Unmarried Man said...

I mentioned that I deliberately shut off my phone's texting capabilities (old Razr as well) to a 20-something girl I work with who typically spends about 2-3 of her 8 hour day tapping away on that demonic hunk of plastic.

She was perplexed and a look of disbelief written across her face, she told me, "But David, this is how everyone talks nowadays."

"I know, that's why I got rid of it," I snarked back.

Anonymous said...

This is why I am not on facebook. It's a waste of time and creepy to boot. The screens on phones are so tiny that surfing the Internet on them seems ridiculous - harder to read than a KJV pocket Bible. TWITter is totally retarded.

RFID will come with a convenience sales pitch - no more dropped phones! No more fishing for credit cards! No more ID theft! No need to carry a wallet that you can lose or have stolen! Etc.. There are no bounds to people's greed and laziness.

Kathy Farrelly said...

"complaining about technology on a blog = lol."
Touche, Simon.

If it's not the smartphone it's the computer.. or the xbox.. or the Ipod or the television.. ;)

One man's meat is another man's poison.

Alte said...

That's true, Kathy. I'm a blog and book junkie, but I just have a cheap card-phone with the texting turned off, no tv connection, no landline phone, no facebook, no tweeting, etc. The thing is that they do it constantly. I'll read through an article or two, post a few comments, and then get up and walk away from the computer. When I leave the house, the technology and books stay at home.

I take my kids to the playground a lot, and the mothers are all texting and phoning while their kids run around. Some of them don't even leave their cars, they just sit in them and chat on the phone while I supervise. They do the same thing at the library, and I'm stuck directing 10 kids in the playgroup because their mothers are all "busy". I find it especially frustrating, as I like to go to the playground and the library to speak to real people, and then they're often too busy texting to have any sort of conversation. I had a meeting with my department head last week, and she interrupted it numerous times to answer her phone.

It's as if the whole world had gotten ADD. And the stuff they are reading and writing is just absolutely mindless. I don't know how they can stand it. It's one thing to read this post from HL, which is of similar quality to a newspaper or magazine article. It's another to read, "Hi. Wat r u doin? :-) Luv u!" and respond in kind, back and forth, all day. What is the point of that? The same women will tell me that they can't homeschool because they're "too busy".

And I've also had to deal with people texting and surfing on their phones during meals or other gatherings. I even see them doing it at Mass! I think there should be times when you just put it all down and focus on the present.

And now I'll go outside and play in the snow with my kids.

Dr. Deezee said...

I've resisted the smart phone revolution for as long as I possibly can. Since I'm entering into IT, I am told I may have to eventually recant and get one, but I'm still holding out. My brother recently wrote up a blog post about this - he's even more resistant to technical change than I am and I had to do some serious hand wringing to even get him to start blogging in the first place.

Demonspawn said...

"I take my kids to the playground a lot, and the mothers are all texting and phoning while their kids run around. Some of them don't even leave their cars,"

If your husband is comfortable with it, have some random male you both know and trust come up and talk/sit with you during playtime. I'm guessing you'll watch the mothers pour out of the cars when that happens.

Keoni Galt said...

complaining about technology on a blog = lol.

I'm not really complaining about the technology...but the way people now give the technology precedence over what used to be standard social grace and good manners.

Alte said...


I suspect that you are right. I know that my husband always gets chatted up when he's the one with the kids.

It's actually sometimes a relief to see anyone at the playground at all. It only happens when the weather is near-perfect. We're often the only ones there, and we live in a small city with a lot of homemakers, I used to think their kids are playing in their yards, but I don't see any when I drive, bike, or walk through the neighborhoods.

An Unmarried Man said...

complaining about technology on a blog = lol.

And he proceeded to inform us technology wasn't the problem?

Of course it's not the problem. The problem is what commercial enterprises train technology to do.