Side one: old school
Remember when no one had a cell phone? When you had to write down people’s phone numbers on pieces of paper. When you memorized your friend’s phone numbers and could rattle them off at the drop of a hat. When you had dial tones and busy tones. When you didn’t actually know who was calling you until you picked up the phone. When other people picked up another phone during your conversation (“oh, sorry. I didn’t realize you were on the phone.”)
And then remember when your parents got a cell phone? Their first ever. And sometimes they let you borrow it. But only for emergencies. You felt so cool. You could make calls. You could receive calls. All while shopping at The Gap.
Those old school phones – home phones and cell phones – were special. Because they were simple. Boxy and ugly, yes. But they worked just fine. The way Alexander Graham Bell intended.
Side two: smart school
Every time we turn around a new phone is on the market. A new phone with new apps, new features, new colors, and new cases is hitting the streets with enough buzz to make your ears ring.
The phones today are people’s lifeline. Connected to their hips, implanted in their ears, welded to their hands. People don’t go anywhere without their phones. Their smart phones.
These phones do it all. And I mean, all. Who needs a computer anymore when you’ve got a smart phone. Phone calls are the last thing people do with their smart phones. There’s no need to talk on the phone anymore. E-mailing away from your desk is no problem. People can be in constant communication with you. There are no dial tones or busy tones. Just a tone of constant connection.
That’s one smart phone.
Now, breaking Wednesday War format, let me ask you something.
When were you happiest?
Do you really, and I mean, really, if you’re being honest with yourself, like being connected to the world 24/7? Do you like always knowing who is calling you? Do you like having work with you all the time? When, more like, if you ever turn your phone off, do you feel lost? Can you put your phone down during an entire dinner? Can you run to the corner store without your phone? Can you go for a walk around the lake or in the woods to get in touch with nature without your phone? How long can you go without checking e-mails, texts, sports scores, and blog posts on your mobile device?
While you’re texting, checking e-mails, and app’ing it up, are you losing connections with the people around you? People right in front of you. Your kids. Your family. Your spouse. Your best friend.
I mean, how long until your new smart phone is old school? Until your newest-latest-greatest gadget is no longer cutting edge? Months. Weeks. Days.
Clearly I am not unbiased on this Wednesday War. I’m still kicking it rather old school – my phone allows me to call, text, and take/send/receive grainy photos. I have a calculator, a tip-calculator, and a notes feature. The last time I went to look for a new phone was in August. I was due for an upgrade, but I panicked. Because I don’t want the commitment, the nagging obligation of a smart phone.
I know that the minute I’m fully connected, I’ll disconnect with everyone around me. The people I truly care about.
So, is it worth it?
I’d say, give me old school or give me death.