Put….down…. the…. PHONE!

Smart Phone Slaves
Smart Phone Slaves
Some rights reserved by kaddisudhi

These days, most people seem to carry a cell phone wherever they go.  Many are smartphones that are, in essence, handheld computers.

Users are constantly checking email, playing games, updating Facebook, tweeting, reading news, texting – heads down, oblivious to surroundings, absorbed in whatever is on that little screen, distracted from the world.

“As of September 2013, 91% of American adults have a cell phone. 55% have a smartphone.”1 The numbers shift across demographics, but not so much as one might think.  For those making over $75,000, 96% have cell phones with 76% being smartphones while the numbers for those under $30,000 are 85% and 41%, for example.

The Power of Smartphone
The Power of Smart Phone
Some rights reserved by ashokboghani

The first cell phone call took place on April 3, 1973, with  a two-pound device with a maximum talk time of thirty minutes.  Accompanied by reporters on a Manhattan walk, according to Motorola engineer Martin Cooper, a call was placed to Joel Engel, a longtime rival at Bell Labs.2

Cooper began: “Guess who this is, you sorry sonofabitch?” Cooper says he could hear Engel whisper to a colleague, “It’s him again” and the Bell official then hung up. Cooper continued to roam around mid-town Manhattan with reporters in tow, dialing in to Engel’s office every once in a while and asking, “Can you hear me now?”3

In the 40 years since that first call, mobile phones have brought societal changes, some readily recognized, others not.  Sexting and bullying via cell phone, driving while texting, and cell phone addiction are all extensively discussed in online articles.

Yesterday, though, I came across something that I would never have thought of being abusive – cell phone photography.

There was a time the entire world didn’t have a camera in their pocket—the first thing that cell phones did was to kill the autograph business. Nobody cares about your autograph. There are cameras everywhere, and there are media outlets for them to “file their story.” They take your picture in line for coffee. They’re trying to get a picture of your baby. Everyone’s got a camera. When they’re done, they tweet it. It’s … unnatural. (Alec Baldwin)4

Now, I’m not particularly a  fan of Alec Baldwin or most any other celebrity.  However, I do see overt actions of much of the paparazzi as offensive and odious.  It’s a shame that people intrude on the lives of others in that same way with their cell phone cameras.

All I can say is Put….down…. the…. PHONE!

Put it in your pocket. Stow it in your purse.

Be nice.


Do you have a cell phone?  Smart phone? What about mobile phones annoys you?

1 Pew Research Internet Project – Cell Phone and Smartphone Ownership Demographics
2 Pew Research Internet Project – The First Cell Phone Call: Excerpt from “Networked: The New Social Operating System”
3 Networked: The New Social Operating System by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman © 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4 Vulture (a New York Magazine blog) – Alec Baldwin: Good-bye, Public Life

commentary, entertainment, give me a break!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alan G Feb 25, 2014

    Well all I can say is, "Ditto on putting down the phone!"

    They're everywhere and seemingly are doing everything. I love technology as much as the next fellow but this is one I wish they had missed. I think the fact that they are contributing so much to the deaths of a lot of people is what riles me the most about cell phones. Now granted, some would say well it's not the phone that is killing people, it's the person driving and using the cell phone and that's true, but on the other hand….

    Anyway, I suppose now I have to confess as to my owning a cell phone and that' true but I am a minimalist when it comes to my phone. I have a TracFone where I purchase a set number of minutes per year and I still have left most all of the minutes I have purchased since owning the phone – some 17oo. I can't remember the last time I charged the battery because the phone is never on. I still would not probably own one were it not for my sisters harassing me into submission so that I would have something for emergency use. Ultimately I came to realize that in that case, it wasn't such a bad idea.

    Well I think I have participated in your 'rant' long enough. You don't want to get me started on the people on phones in the grocery stores…. 🙂
    Alan G recently posted…Yep… I’m a Headline Chaser!My Profile

    • Mike Feb 25, 2014

      We both have smartphones, but use them "smartly." I use mine mostly for texting Karen for various things — to see where she is when we're not together or to let her know that I'm going to Lowes instead straight home after I get done at the gym, etc, etc. I also use it as a music source when I'm working out, though I've also listened to talk radio and even watched shows from Netflix, but only at the gym or at home, never in a situation where it would be a distraction. We first went to smartphones to take advantage of the mobile hotspot feature when we were traveling. We actually got rid of our home phone and DSL for a while, but before we subscribed to Netfix we got the DSL reconnected.

  • Rummuser Feb 25, 2014

    A little over a year ago, I was gifted with a smart phone by my son who thought that since I was not smart, a smart phone may improve my life somewhat. It has. To start with, it has enabled my son and his lovely bride to keep tabs on me wherever I go and to ring me up now and then to remind me to do this that or the other or to tell me that they won't be home for dinner or whatever. My very expensive camera has not seen day light since the smart phone came as the few photos that I do take, I can with my smart phone. I use it to make notes or keep addresses etc and apart from all these advantages, or plus points, I see no purpose in keeping one. I however refuse to answer the phone when it is inconvenient as I know that I can contact whoever called at my convenience. If people could learn to do that, I think that the world will be a better place.

    Incidentally, I posted Alec Baldwin's rant on facebook as I thought that he had some very valid points on privacy.
    Rummuser recently posted…The Streets Are Alive.My Profile

    • Mike Feb 25, 2014

      I agree. Baldwin had a lot of good points on privacy and other things. His comments on MSNBC were spot-on — I haven't watched anything there in quite a long while, though, for a time, I was a regular viewer.

  • Grannymar Feb 26, 2014

    I upgraded to a smartphone back in November. My old one was done and the provider's signal unreliable. Living alone with health issues makes it a necessity. I do not use half the gadgets that come with it and there are days on end when it is not used at all. When out, it is my clock, camera and phone and the home screen has my ICE numbers – Next of kin details.
    Grannymar recently posted…Seven Wonders of the WorldMy Profile

    • Mike Feb 26, 2014

      We're the same with all the different things that come with them. Karen has deleted a lot of those on her phone and grouped most of the rest into folders. I just kind of remember where the one's are that I use, though I have shuffled them around a bit.

  • Hilary Mar 3, 2014

    Hi Mike – I have to say I can't think where people find the time … and I used to not take my phone to London, then get there and realise I had no camera – when I really wanted one: I'm sort of getting myself mentally organised in this direction.

    I am quite careful with what I put up .. and I'm about to get a new uptodate iphone, as mine is ancient and I can't get the apps up I'd like to use .. and then I really need to knuckle under and understand the thing. Having it with all my records on doesn't appeal – though I could see the logic in someway …

    I'm afraid invasion of privacy is everywhere now … I'm just glad I'm not of that age … but I do hate hearing others' phone calls, or trying to avoid people as I walk the streets when they've got their heads into their phone – dangerous at times … cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Bare Bones …My Profile

    • Mike Mar 4, 2014

      Hi Hilary — One thing we don't do is use our iphones the same way as our personal computers. We don't use them to access any accounts related to paying bills or anything else of a financial nature. We do use them for checking email, facebook, blogs, news and, of course, for phone calls, along with texting.

      There are some aps available that we use even at home sitting in front of the computer.

      One that comes to mind is a conversion ap that I use for getting °C and metric values for writing, such as "It's 18°F (-6.2°C) and we've still got almost all of the 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) of sleet, rain, snow mix that we got on Sunday still covering the ground."

      Another is the calendar. I don't use one on the computer, but I do on the phone since it's available all of the time. I have a couple of scheduled reminders on it for regular meetups. For most things, though, we just use an old-fashioned paper appointment calendar that sits on top of our microwave.

  • nick Mar 7, 2014

    I only have a very primitive mobile phone which allows me to make calls or text and that's it. I have no need of anything more sophisticated. I only keep it for use in an emergency, which in practice is about twice a year. But I'm not bothered by other people using their phones seemingly non-stop, and I'm not bothered by their conversations. People do all sorts of strange things in public and being glued to your phone is just another strange but harmless habit.
    nick recently posted…Callous neglectMy Profile

    • Mike Mar 7, 2014

      I do appreciate the idea of having a simple mobile phone. We may go that way one day as we become more dependent on a fixed income and start cutting costs. That's still a future consideration, though.

  • Cheerful Monk Mar 23, 2014

    I don’t have a cell phone, let alone a smart one. But I don’t go very far from home. Here I have computers, an iPod Touch and two iPads. I do enjoy my toys. 🙂
    Cheerful Monk recently posted…ElkMy Profile

    • Mike Mar 23, 2014

      We each have an iPhone and an HP laptop. Toys are important!
      Mike recently posted…Risky.My Profile

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