Does this phone make me look smart?
, via Wikimedia Commons”]I seem to be getting more and more e-mail from people with that little tag line at the bottom stating the message was sent with some form of a smart phone. I never quite know if that is an excuse or a subtle way of reminding me that I don’t have an I-Phone. Why would a smart phone make an excuse for itself? That doesn’t seem to make sense.
These days it seems like there are more and more smart phones with no significant change in levels of smart people. I am not talking about simple intelligence. People are still seeming to do quite well in education and other areas of life. I am referring to other areas, especially relationships. There are a few ways that I have seen otherwise smart people do rather foolish things because of their smart phones.
Inside Jokes and Side Conversations -- I don’t know where things have changed. It used to be when someone was talking, that you were to be listening. These days listening means something much different. Listening now means being in the same room with someone, but browsing the internet on your phone and pointing things out to the people around you. Is that not rude? This does not seem real smart to me because there is no way you are actually gaining anything from the people you are with and you certainly aren’t contributing. This pushes people away and distracts everyone. Nope, not smart.
Posting Pictures of Strange Things Online — With a camera always at the ready, people are taking pictures of all kinds of things. Did you make an interesting dish for supper? Did you run into the wall because you were looking at your phone while walking? It is time to take a picture and post it online. I am not sure how smart it is to post pictures of yourself doing embarrassing things or your friends doing embarrassing things. It is even less smart to post things that are illegal online, but alas, people do that too. Not very smart.
Constantly checking in — I know it is fun to click the little “check-in” button and to tell everyone that you are at Target, but really why do you want people to know that? What if it is someplace more embarrassing than that? When people start checking in from restrooms at malls, then we know the line has been crossed. I just don’t think it is too smart to tell people where you are at every moment and it is also not smart for you to think that people care. I mean, we love you, just don’t tell us everything. I like a little mystery. Nope, not smart.
Using Apps for Things You Used to Do -- How hard is it to make a grocery list? Do you need an App to do that for you? I find it takes more effort to put things into an online calendar than to just write it down. Sure, some Apps are useful, but others are just pure laziness. The verdict is still out for me as to how I feel about the Bible App. I mean, sure you don’t have to carry a book around, but the phone is not the same. What happens when the battery runs out and you have forgotten how to write? Or, what about when you have made your list but you drop your phone on the way into the store and someone without a smart phone runs it over out of spite. Not so smart now, are you?
Airing Grievances About Someone on Facebook — In the heat of the moment, someone might grab their smart phone and post a snarky remark about someone online. It is the “shoot first, then aim” approach. Well, sometime soon the person realizes that they were a bit rash, but it is too late. The word is out and spreading like a grass fire in the desert. Sometimes people are so vague that no one knows what the person is upset about. They do know that they will harm the person who did this to their friend, until they realize that the person being referred to is actually them. Not looking too smart.
Relationship Killing – Lastly, something that I have talked about in a recent post with regards to cell phones in youth ministry, is the potential relationship killer that these little devices can be. There you are out with friends and all you are doing is looking at your phone. What a waste! There was an article I read about how this relates to dating and it is just classic. (Read here) People using their smart phones on dates claimed to have a worse time. Well, if you are on your phone the entire time, I can see why! Again, not smart.
I am not against technology. I just wish people would be more intentional about the relationships around them and with the information they spread around so freely. I know smart phones aren’t inherently evil and I know they aren’t going away. We need to just be aware of them and use them wisely.
This message was not sent with an I-Phone, all typos are my own.