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Our reliance on phones

Submitted by on Tuesday, 23 August 2011

My friend Steve Gershik, ready to print an interview of me, wrote me this email:

I can add in a line that indicates you’ve Wittenberg a number of books and point back to your web site.

I was curious and excited! I’ve ‘Wittenberg a number of books’! What did that mean? I looked up Wittenberg on the web. 1. It’s a university in Ohio; 2. a town in Germany; 3 the name of an athlete.

But what did that have to do with our communication? I emailed Steve and asked. “Ooops,” he responded. His cell phone assumed the word once he wrote the ‘w’. Really? That was the only assumed word that the iPhone could come up with using the letter W?

That brings up an interesting point. Our reliance on our cell phones. They run our lives. We text, email, call, look up stuff, buy concert tickets, see who our ex’s are dating, see where our colleagues work – all from our phones.

What did we do before? Hmmm… Oh. I know. We listened to music, spoke to our friends on the landline (which used to be called a Telephone), used newspapers to look up concert dates, used our pc’s to email people, and generally not be available in the evenings and weekends.

I must admit that I go on strike over the weekend. I turn off my computer at noon every Friday, and don’t look at emails or the web or anything electronic until Monday morning. I am so buzzed, so overwhelmed by all of the technology and expectation in my life, by the expectations friends and colleagues and clients have that I’m available 24/7, that I need to chill. I have ‘decision fatigue’ by the end of each week. And if I didn’t make myself shut down, I would be a hopeless wreck the next work week.

In fact, I lay in a hammock all weekend and read and listen to music. OK, sometimes I play Angry Birds, but lately I’ve gotten so annoyed by the level I’m on and I can’t seem to get that second bloody bird under all of the rocks, that I haven’t even done that (and they won’t let me go to a different game until I do!!! bummer.)

So my complaint today is that I don’t want to know what a Wittenburg is, or an Angry Bird. I just want my life back.

sd

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  • Biz Burnett

    GREAT post, Sharon Drew, about how dumb smartphones can be sometimes!  I know you’re not alone in “just wanting your life back.”  Text-message marketing (to cellphones) is the next invasion, and it will significantly reduce the # of minutes every day during which we’re not bombarded with advertising.  The sad thing is that, as Pogo told us (in his comic strip on Earth Day 1971), “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

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