Smartphones: Arch-Nemesis or Best Friend?

High Technology, Opinions, Social Media Posted May 19, 2015 by Kayla Krause

The smartphone is both the best and the worst invention. Ever.

Because of smartphones, we can be in touch with someone within moments—whether it’s a text, a call, a tweet, or Skype. Smartphones make it easy to connect with family and friends from across town or across the globe. With your trusty smartphone you can IM a co-worker from the conference room as easily as you can FaceTime a cousin who lives in England or Facebook a friend from Sweden.

This powerful feeling of any-time, anywhere connectedness is characteristic of the smartphone-era. Sure, there were always ways to stay in touch prior to smartphones; there were landline phones, letters, telegrams and such, but they took time, money and effort. We deserve instant gratification and with smartphones we get it, and so much more.

Smartphones are also a boon in the business world.  Now we can hold conference calls with colleagues from wherever we happen to be in the world and at any time of day, even after hours or when you are away from your computer. How great is that?

On the other hand, check out 27 Powerful Images That Sum up How Smartphones Are Ruining Our Lives for a look at the dark side of smartphones. It couldn’t be more accurate.

The same ease of communication that has simplified conversation and social interaction has also weakened both. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve gone out with friends when they pick up their phone to text or tweet something. One of my favorites is when I’m walking outside and have people nearly run me over because their head is looking down at their smartphone. I’m guilty of the same transgressions, but that’s just the reason this article resonated so much with me.

Because everyone is doing it, does that make it acceptable? Have smartphones forced us to reconsider etiquette in the modern age?

Expectations have changed, but I think it’s situational. If you have a meeting with a client or a plan to get together with friends for drinks but get caught up at work, traffic is snarled, or the MBTA is broken down (again), the polite thing to do is send a text to let someone know you’re running behind. In those circumstances your smartphone is your best friend. But when you catch up with your friends and get a text from another friend and feel the urge to immediately take out your phone to respond you might feel like this comic.Smartphones comic

It makes me wonder how the future will be—will we evolve to the point that smartphones and devices are our only means of communication? Will we ever get over the need to satisfy our thirst for instant gratification and be the first to post some bit of news?

Smartphones are still relatively new, and there’s a fascination that comes with the novelty, but as with anything, the answer is in moderation. Exercise a little self-control. You don’t have to be “the first” to post it or take a photo of it to show your entire online network.

Sometimes it’s best to savor the moment—for yourself.