A Brief (De-)Evolution of the Cell Phone
|Finally! A cell phone with its own gravitational pull!|
Cell phones are now an item that one must have in order to be a part of any social group or stay in contact with friends. The more social networking features (like texting, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc ad nauseum) your phone has to stay in touch with friends, the better. New cell phones are now more like mini computer than phones. Even to the point where many common features of phones are now becoming secondary to new ones that are supposedly more convenient.
The latest iPhone incarnation, the very creatively named "iPhone 4" was released last year. Wow, what could possibly be the name of the the next one? My bet is iPhone 26. This feature filled "cell phone" had antenna issues so remarkable that some customers weren't able to perform the simple task of making or receiving a phone call simply if they held the phone in their left hand.
"Screw you Southpaws!" Steve Jobs was quoted as saying after unveiling the device. Okay, not really... but look at the way these people are holding their phone. It seems like a pretty standard way to hold the device. How are we supposed to hold it to make it work? Between our fingernails like the hair you pull out of the drain stopper in the tub? Spin it on our fingers like pizza dough?
When your product has the word phone in it's name, you'd think it'd be able to perform the single simplest function of a phone. With the seemingly infinite features of the new iPhone, the old rotary phones that have existed for more than a hundred years had a feature the iPhone 4 did not: It could make a phone call.
Texting and Proper Dating Etiquette
|Piggy just became the next Snackrifice to the Munchie Gods.|
What's missing from the above scenario?
Besides any semblance of manners on my sister's part, missing is any sort of human interaction between my family and this boy. Instead of parking his car and walking up to the door to introduce himself to my parents and (more importantly) myself, he pulls up and picks up my sister like my house was some sort of teenage girl drive-thru (I'll take a blonde cheerleader, easy on the perkiness, with a side of black framed glasses...actually change it to a redhead).
Perhaps I'm behind the times, but when did the above scenario become socially acceptable? I remember how nervous and tense I would get back in the day when I picked up a girl for a date because I knew that I wanted to make a good first impression, that way I could continue picking up that girl for future dates (and we all know what future dates mean... cha-ching!).
I made an effort! I put in work! I walked uphill both ways! In the snow! Hell, I didn't even have a car. I had to get a ride from a parent or I had to catch the bus. Trust me, it's not easy getting a second or third date (or second or third base, for that matter) when you're riding the bus. These kids aren't even making the effort to walk to the front door.
|"I don't see the big deal about texting and drivin'... |
Oh shit! A deer!"
Why aren't these kids making the effort?
Texting. This boy can simply text my sister once he gets to her house (or on the way there, heaven forbid) and she will come strolling out. No need to get out of his car, face the parentals, or the wrath of older siblings. These kids have it made.
Texting has made kids lazy, at least that's my theory. Texting is instant gratification. Type. Press send. Lay back, relax, and forget about it. That is how today's teens are being trained to interact. There's no more effort than the movement of thumbs.
The Instant Illusion of Self Importance
Instant gratification always comes at a price. This is true in nature, media, social situations, and pretty much every other case possible. You want that Big Mac right now? You have pay money for it. Then, you have to exchange a portion of your health for that juicy, delicious morsel of the American dream Jay Gatsby never got to realize. You want that amazing rush that comes with driving 90+ MPH down the freeway? Be prepared to get pulled over and pay a fine, or worse, pay your life when you flip your car after clipping the median. Instant gratification always has its costs.
|Everything comes with a price. EVERYTHING.|
Here's a fun experiment that proves my point. Find someone you know who has a smart phone or who texts often. Spend some time with them and count the number of times they check their phone and then don't do anything with it. They will push a button to turn on the screen just to confirm that no one has texted them or called them.
People do this constantly, all day, every day. Imagine a pigeon or a rat that gets food at random intervals throughout the day. The food pellets come in a small box at the side of their cage. How often will the pigeon or rat check that box? They will check it constantly. It's basic Behavior Modification, or more specifically Operant Conditioning with a Variable Interval Schedule of reinforcement.
People have been conditioned in the same way as lab animals and that's the way the cell phone company CEOs like it.They believe that they are constantly missing out on something and therefore must "stay in the loop" by making sure they respond to every text. Even though there is no indication that they have received one. Phones light up, make noise, and vibrate when a text is received. Why then do people check them to "make sure" they haven't received one?
Besides that, what is so urgent about responding to 160-character limit message that we feel compelled to check our phones every minute? I see people ignore phone calls all day, but then interrupt the person they're sitting and speaking with to respond "real quick" to a text. Shouldn't the phone call take priority? Of course, hardly anyone calls each other anymore. Calling someone suddenly became taboo because that means the other person has to take time to speak with you. Ugh.
|Imagine a whole generation of kids ending up like this...|