It's Not You ... It's Me
Updated: Aug 19
Well, July came and went and with it, I must admit, a roller coaster of challenges on my DriPhone experiment.
As a result of being an idle passenger on a 12 hour road trip, the temptation to randomly pull the smartphone out of my bag and scroll mindlessly, had only somewhat been tempered by the previous weeks of adjusting to my flip phone. COVID travel restrictions meant we needed to have our "Location Services" switched on, so the iPhone lurked about inside the car, like an unwelcome hitchhiker.
After four weeks of switching between various devices in my toolbox, what did I learn?
That I no longer needed to be so “connected” 24/7 to every one and every thing; I didn’t suffer FOMO at the thought of missing a post or a message; I was happy to actually sit in a coffee shop with a book bound with paper; I was even smug about entering a store and signing the form for COVID check in, waving my flip phone about, declaring “Sorry, I don’t own a smartphone”.
Although I still allowed myself Facebook and Instagram on my laptop, the relief of not carrying the weight of global news and social media around in my pocket, gave me a real sense of freedom. I was more organised and felt in control of who, when, what and where I communicated with people. The changes were exhilarating!
And yes, I was clearly one of millions addicted to my smartphone! The convenience of having so many services inside one handy device was for me at least, just too tempting. And I must admit, it still is on some level.
("Survey Says" ... many of us are feeling the same way. Over 100 smartphone users responded to my survey, and their responses encouraged me to persevere with this experiment. I'll be presenting the results in another blog post, but just as a teaser ... over 80% of respondents said they'd consider it to be "freedom" if their smartphone no longer existed, or at least, they believed it to be "an interesting concept worth trying"!)
Weeks after the experiment has finished, the lure of my iPhone is slowly trying to suck me back in. My Apps are constantly jockeying for position, tempting me with message alerts, shazaming new tunes, downloading audio books, playlists, podcasts and new Pilates classes, pinging news and message notifications, and a whole host of conversations and catchups on social media that either entertain or annoy me.
However, I’m happy to report that my social experiment proved that whilst I did have unhealthy smartphone habits, I actually am not a slave to portable technology. I have, in fact, been liberated by a return to retro-technology, while the world continues to spin out of control on its digital axis.
I still use my iPhone mainly for messaging, camera and calls, but there’s been some small changes, with big results:
o It’s forever banished from my bedroom – no digital distractions at bedtime
o I awake to a simple alarm clock – not the latest posts on social media
o I have turned the page on penmanship – I write lists and read books made of paper
o I swap the iPhone for my flip phone – when I’m feeling like a little “do not disturb” time
o I work out with my iPod – weightless, with a hefty selection of tunes and podcasts, free of distractions …
The end result of this experiment? Well, I've come to the conclusion that it's not so much of a breakup with my smartphone … just a firm but polite request for “space”.
I figured I’d let my iPhone down gently, in a format it would understand ...