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Haven’t we all had the experience of waiting for a friend to show up or for a class to start, when we pull out our cell phone and start messaging someone, simply because it feels awkward just sitting there?Tranquility, as Chris says, has lost its stock value: cell phones have bred a culture where it is simply uncomfortable to sit alone without being (or even just ) busy.As far as I am concerned, i Phones and other products of the like are now cooler than neon spandex was in the 1980s or Kanye West’s music is to the current white middle class.I do not personally own an i Phone or Blackberry, but that does not keep me from participating in useless phone conversations in order to kill time.How often do you overhear someone on the phone orating something along the lines of “O hey, watcha doin? O, me either,” while you, by yourself, are walking peacefully?
Standing in lines at the supermarket chatting away, sitting in coffee shops hooked into our text messages, conducting conversations in person while checking our phones every other minute: cell phones have caused us to become “absently present”— physically in a place but mentally absent, off in another world preoccupied by our phones.
While normal texts and conversations are socially acceptable, tethered technologies, such as the Blackberry and i Phone, are the power tools that are constructing the barrier between ourselves and the traditional daily events to which we are accustomed, such as face to face conversation and, more importantly, paying attention to our superiors during college classes and office meetings, instead of the You Tube shenanigans playing on our hand-held screens.
According to Apple, over 16 million Americans owned an i Phone as of last June.
A time when you might have sat for a moment in silence, read a book without interruption, or chatted with someone nearby, instead of constantly grabbing for your phone to send a text or check e-mail?
It’s hard to imagine, but just give it a try: can you remember life before you had a device with you, at all times, everywhere you go?
Today’s post is about the gadget that has wormed its way into the life of over 80% of American’s lives, and explores what it’s like to live in a world where quiet, un-connected moments are few and far between, increasingly replaced by the twitter of texts and cell phone chatter.