I use my phone a lot. And not just for communication. I use it to know what the time is, I use it for entertainment, I even use it so people don’t come up to me when I’m walking around campus and ask me to sign their petitions. It is an extremely vital tool in my life, which made my decision to go phone-free for a day a major struggle.
I woke up, checked my phone, which told me it was 8 a.m. Then I switched it off, cutting myself off from indirect contact for the day. Any encounters I would have with friends on campus would be purely coincidental.
I felt a sense of unease for the whole day. Even though I knew it was extremely unlikely, I constantly found myself thinking “what if there was an emergency and I was not contactable?” For the entirety of the day, I was somewhat on edge. Why did I feel as if an important facet of my life was missing when I didn’t have access to this little gadget? At worst, I would reply to a few text messages tomorrow, so it seems somewhat pathetic that in a way, not having a mobile phone ruined my day.
In the afternoon I rode around to my mate’s house to see what he was up to. He wasn’t home. I would have been able to avoid this situation if I had had my phone on me. So I returned to my place where I gave in to another form of communication, Facebook. To be honest, I don’t care if “Samantha has two midterms next week…ahhhhhh!” or if a distant friend commented on a photo of me, but there is something about feeling constantly connected to others which is extremely attractive. So I made my standard wall posts, asked my mate why he wasn’t home and then logged out.
I walked upstairs and told my roommate about my ordeal. He responded, “How would you know if any girls wanted to come over?” I just laughed in agreement, but there is a real message behind his words. People like feeling validated, feeling popular, feeling needed. Receiving and sending unproductive messages which ultimately hold no value is part of how we as a generation feel a sense of comfort and perhaps confidence. If I didn’t receive any messages in a day I would feel somewhat offended. Why don’t people like me enough to want to meet up, or even just say g’day? Technology is what our generation has turned to as a means of feeling a sense of togetherness. Without Facebook and a cell phone I would feel extremely vulnerable.
So what did people do a decade ago when they didn’t have access to such technologies? Were their lives more meaningful because they only had direct contact with one another? I suggest that every generation finds its own niche in which to communicate with one another, and that’s just fine. I’d say I have more direct contact with people as a result of having more indirect contact with them. I use my cell phone to make plans, build friendships and call girls at midnight asking if they’re still awake. This little gadget is great! It was very difficult to do without my phone for a day and I wouldn’t want it to happen again.
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