You are never alone with a phone…

I have begun to realise just how addictive a smart phone is…

I used to have a “dumb phone”. You know, the kind you actually use to make telephone calls. It took a lot to get me to join the real world, and even longer to learn the full functionality of my blackberry. What is interesting is that over the past few months, I have realised that whenever there is some “down time” I turn my phone on, take a look at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, my emails.  Waiting for a coffee, standing in a queue, riding a bus, the time I used to spend just staring into space being annoyed at having to wait for something or someone to arrive. Now I fill up those times by networking.

And it WORKS! I find I am so much more on top of what my students are moaning about, what they are raving about, or just what’s happening in the world. When someone gets desperate about their dissertation, irritated by a sick lecturer or just amused by the latest talking cat on YouTube, I am now part of that conversation and can respond. It does more than just pass the time.

This is something remarkable for me- because as my students all know, I HATE talking on the telephone! That has come from years of fighting fires, arguing with journalists and being hassled by people calling with their latest disaster, crisis, horror story or whatever.  Social media means you can observe and decide when to answer, and when to leave it alone. It isn’t intrusive; it’s inclusive. It empowers the conversation.

OK, I KNOW you know this! It is just a bit of a revelation to someone who wasn’t born a digital native, but rather someone who has had to learn this all the hard way. So, for those of you who have followed me and let me follow them- this is a big THANK YOU!


About catherinesweet
Academic, professional, communicator, stakeholder in a dozen different disguises

5 Responses to You are never alone with a phone…

  1. mihaela990 says:

    We are living in an era where everybody is rushing and expects you to reply quickly to everything. We, as students, expect you to reply very quickly to everything, so for somebody like you who has big ques at the office door a Blackberry is brilliant. Now you won’t have to wait to get home in order to reply our emails, you can do it in Costa Coffee. However, I still believe that smart phones become “addictive” at a certain point, because lots of people are always busy with their phones and they don’t even bother to look up and say “hello”, so please, please don’t get to attached to your Blackberry and still have chats with us on the way to campus.

  2. Your comment is “fuel to my fire” – the trouble with being thought of as “instantly accessible” is that everyone thinks that you are! And, as my husband quite rightly says, I need down time, too. In my City career as a professional PRO, I never had a night off, a weekend away, a moment of privacy. And, as we know that students’ demands are always going to exceed supply of teachers’ time, my blackberry may be a slippery slope ( pardon the strange mix of metaphors). Face-time is more important than Facebook for me, and always will be.

  3. As the only one in our MA group with a ‘dumb’ phone, I can’t help but agree. I relish my time in the evenings – between getting home from work, and starting my uni work – where I’m offline (usually watching The Chase).

    I think the connectivity a smartphone brings is ideal, particularly for teacher and lecturers, but I also find myself frustrated at how the use of smartphones has been bastardised by, for want of a better phrase, the young.

    I’m not sure how much of a crisis can really befall a 13-year-old in the cinema – but I’m pretty sure that when things DO get that serious, Angry Birds isn’t going to help…

    I’m going to have to get a smartphone, though, once I finish Uni. I can’t imagine life as a freelancing having much time offline – I may as well partkae in the trend!

  4. Claire Hodson says:

    You’re constantly switched on now Catherine, there is no turning back! I agree with you, having a smartphone has made those boring situations like travelling and waiting in queues much more interesting and definitely makes the time go faster.

    But, it’s slightly scary at the same time. I was in a restaurant last week and watched a couple sit and eat their meal, pretty much in complete silence. They were both more interested at what was happening on their phones than each other. Our phones are becoming some people’s lives… it’s a hallelujah for businesses giving employees company mobiles. Now there is nowhere to hide!

    Addiction is absolutely the word. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone, check my tweets and check my facebook… it’s part of my morning routine!

  5. fameface says:

    I agree that this is something really useful because it puts all the information at our fingertips. However, to me it seems more like a double-edged sword. I see zombie-like people every day who go facebooking, tweeting or e-mailing first thing in the morning and last thing in bed. Sometimes I can’t even sit down and have dinner or lunch like a normal person because technology has invided my personal life (and I believe not only mine) to such extend that everybody can reach me at any time to change my working schedule, meeting, holiday etc. I’ve even seen people who go with their iphones or blackberries to the bathroom! This is what I call a digital-addiction and I personally try to avoid it. Yes, it’s great to keep in touch with my friends back home or all around the world, it is great to catch up on what’s going on around the world but I do think there should be limits. Do you recall the tweet of the guy holding the Olympic torch??He was actually holding it in one hand while tweeting about carrying it in the other! That’s what I’m talking about! Do we need to be online 24/7?Have you noticed all the people who constantly tweet what they are up to – “I’m having a cup of coffe”, “I’m watching the Euro’12”, I’m talking with my mum (are you really talking with her or with Siri??). Where are the borders between the online and the real world?

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