And The World Will Never Be the Same

… the day you get a smartphone.

Now, I don’t mean to get all sappy or overly excited here because I know it’s just a phone…

but actually, in REALITY reality, it’s much more than a phone…

it’s a way of life…

"This is how much cooler you are with an Android."

[end commercial].

But I’m a little bit serious here because I sort of feel like my life has been improved for the better in a small but significant way.

The Beginning of the Smartphone fatefully occurred for me today, September 7th, 2011, and though I may be a little late to jump on the boat, it’s one I’ve been anticipating languidly from the shore for quite some time. Although, that brings up a good question: am I quite late in jumping onboard? Where are the people out there who don’t get emails to their phone and whatnot because I don’t see them? Surely there are those who can’t afford all the new gadgets and gizmos, but do some not care enough to have one? I’m sure there are, but the numbers of smartphone users are increasing rapidly, turning into a tidal wave of a consumer base.

How about some facts: In the three months between May and July, smartphone users increased by 10% in the United States, bringing total smartphone users up to 35% of the 234 million people 13 and over who use cell phones. That number even seems low to me, as I have increasingly found myself a lone dinky-phone user in a wide sea of cool-phone people. But then again, I am in California and specifically Los Angeles where we probably gobble up half of those numbers. Still, it was starting to get a little ridiculous as I noticed that everyone EVERYWHERE was taking pictures/emailing/tweeting/playing Tetris/shooting lasers from their cell phone. Even my mom has an iPhone, and has had it for three and a half years… talk about being behind the times… And suddenly, I found myself at a disadvantage.

I remember when the iPhone came out, how skeptical I was about this new technology (though, my contempt probably came mostly from the fact that I didn’t have surplus money for it) and now, how after only about four and a half years, I started to feel like an alien intruder without one. My entire mindset has changed from “Oh, I don’t need that superfluous toy” to “FINALLY! My life will be so much easier and more streamlined with my new baby Android.” I know for the past year, and especially the past few months as I’ve been working more and more online, I have been eyeing these little puppies like a phone-o-phile, waiting for the right moment to strike. And finally, after biding my time and laying low with a master plan, strike I have!

And also, um, thanks Mom! For the birthday gift...

It seems as if any sort of career in writing, social media or marketing requires constant access to a computer and/or the internet (hail the Android), but even for less media-heavy jobs or hobbies, like non-profits, art groups and community events, a smartphone is a valuable device. I don’t know if there are any jobs out there that require networking that aren’t actually hindered by not having a smartphone. I definitely started looking forward to the day when I didn’t have to set up shop somewhere to check my email or get directions. Either the world is changing or everyone around me is getting things done quicker and easier… or both. While iPhones seemed like just a cool toy back in the day, smartphones have now become a competitive advantage.

I wonder, are smartphones becoming a new symbol of class/lifestyle differences? I sort of feel like I’ve just stepped into a whole new world.

Jasmine and her hero, Android.

And though I’ve only had it for about four hours now, I have already been inspired to clean up my computer and organize all my files – perhaps a psychological response to having something new and worth taking care of. Broken windows theory maybe? This sociological theory outlined in 1982 says that a broken window in a disheveled/poor/crime-ridden area of town will cause social morale to drop, and thereby cause more destruction and crime. Likewise, one solution within this theory is that improving the appearance of an area will actually result in a higher standard of living, as people will think more highly of themselves and act less resigned to their circumstances. If you live in shit, you feel like shit and don’t give a shit where you shit. But if your shit starts to improve, you start to improve and you stop shitting everywhere, causing a chain reaction in all the rest of the shitters.

Okay, maybe a little bit of a lewd stretch there, but I do feel like I’ve finally joined the be-everywhere-all-the-time game with my new baby Android. I still fantasize about the day when I can have a place of my own and a real cord phone with buttons attached to the wall, and maybe an answering machine as well, so that I can more easily separate work and play (and also, who doesn’t have a retro fetish in this whirlpool of a world?) – but just having the ability to be online anytime really gives a pretty big boost to the morale. Even though I don’t plan to actually be online all the time (phone etiquette and e-toy management is a whole topic for another day), it’s like getting a smartphone fixes that one broken window in my psyche, connecting me to all the rest of the well-groomed, well-maintained people in the virtual world.

Does anybody feel like a smartphone is actually a game changer and life changer? How important is it? More for fun or work? Was there a point when you decided or realized you needed/wanted one?

Yeah, today was kind of a big deal. But I’m still going to sleep tonight where in my dreams there is no internet and where hopefully I will fly like a human bird.