Has The Smartphone Changed Us For Better or for Worse?

Monday, February 08, 2016

I love smartphones.  I have one (the Motorola Moto G2 and I previously had the Samsung Galaxy Ace 1.)  I think they are the best things ever invented in history.

The best thing about smartphones: the apps!  I have loads of apps on my phone, especially social media, games, messaging, email and communication apps.  I have Whatsapp.  It's a great way of staying in touch with friends and messaging on the go.  Smartphones are 'relatively new' in the grand scheme of things - the first iPhone came out in 2007 - and I still like to talk and text.  Most importantly, I like communicating face to face, and I have
moments where I just put my phone away and reconnect with the real world.

There's no doubt that smartphones has made communication easier, which has made life easier.  It's so much easier to stay in touch with people - even without phone credit, you just need WiFi/mobile data - and I can contact anyone in an instant.  I find it so much easier to speak to my friends and ask how they are doing, and it's convenient for arranging meetups.

However, I feel as though smartphones (and mobile phones in general) have made people more flaky and rude.  I sometimes find that people don't make an effort to speak face to face any more.  There have been times when I've been hanging out with groups of people and they have been more interested in using their phones instead of engaging in a face-to-face conversation, and quite frankly that's extremely disrespectful.  When I hang out with people I expect us to engage, so I don't appreciate it when people are looking at a phone screen rather than looking at me.

I have had situations where people don't make an effort to pick up the phone to respond to me.  Even though I am a part of the younger generation, I think it's still important to properly RSVP to events, and I think it's very important to pick up the phone and speak to someone about their plans.  I've been in situations where I have made an effort to reach out to people, but they don't do the same in return, and that's not nice at all.  There have been times where I have sent out a message or sent out invites, and I don't get a single response back.  I used to have a group of 'friends' at university who did this all the time and I ended up ditching them because this was becoming a regular occurrence, and it was getting to the point where sending out an invite on a group chat to meetup locally was like drawing blood out of a stone, because my attempts were constantly being ignored.

Worst of all, I have had 'friends' bail out of meetups last minute by sending out a text message five minutes before.  Quite frankly I find this really rude, disrespectful, extremely unacceptable, out of order and ill-mannered.  I'm not an etiquette expert but if I know I won't be able to attend an event I always let people know in advance.  I never bail out last minute, and I never send a message five minutes before.  That's so bad.  If I find I can't attend a particular event for whatever reason, I call up the host/hostess/event organiser and let them know with a perfectly good reason, not an excuse.  On the flip side, if I am meeting up with a friend I will call them up on the day to confirm the meetup and to clarify details, and I turn up on time - not two-and-half hours later.  I never turn up to events without 'RSVPing' in advance.

I think people have stopped making an effort to communicate properly, and formally.  Somehow smartphones have made some people lose their common sense and manners, and that's not right at all.

Communication is a two-way street, and that shouldn't change because of the invention of the smartphone.

 I have always had a bit of an interest in technology.  I can take to tech products like duck to water without using a manual, and I have always been computer-literate.

I remember when smartphones didn't exist.  I remember the days when you had to pick up the phone and call in advance to let someone know you were/weren't coming to an event.  I remember when people had to formally RSVP.  I remember when bailing out was a sign of rudeness, not a sign of normal behaviour.  I remember when people actually had face-to-face conversations around the dinner table, so you felt as though you were interacting with fellow human beings instead of talking to a brick wall.  I'm glad that I grew up in a time where smart phones didn't exist (I'm a full on 90s kid.)  At least it means that I've got some manners!

I thought smartphones made communication easier.  I still think they have.  But I think smartphone have made impolite actions acceptable.

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