TweeksBI Four: Hello, my name is Alex, I am …

I got my iPhone 5 on September 21st 2012, the day of its launch. No, I didn’t standup in line for hours; it actually took me less than 15 minutes to go in and out of the Apple store to switch my old Blackberry for the new iPhone, a device that has slowly but steadily produced changes in my behavior.

Sure enough, all of my crackberry habits—and then some— translated right over to my new device. Incessant releasing of my phone out of its holster to check email; accompanied by fast thumb-typing. I was not new to the smartphone lifestyle; I’ve also owned a couple of iPads, and my wife has had three iPhones since the first one was launched. 

 


IPhone5Yet, having an iPhone 5 as my main personal device has led me to new and different experiences— watching the presidential debates while checking Twitter, for example,  was both fun and enriching. Now I use TripIt to keep track of my travel itinerary, the Passbook app for boarding passes, and I recently made my first payment using Square at a local pizzeria. I’ve played Words With Friends, while also becoming increasingly obsessed with Letterpress. I’m on my way to becoming thoroughly absorbed in the digital lifestyle! 

Having access to an abundance of rich content in fantastic apps like Flipboard, Prismatic or Instapaper is an entertaining and immersive experience…until it’s not. Last weekend I just realized that I was not able to sit through an entire movie or watch a football game, without opening up one of those apps, several times.  What a powerful drug! Several orders of magnitude stronger than the crackberry.  I’ll admit I am a smartphone addict.

Smartphone addiction is a social malady. Look at the person next to you in the elevator; most likely she is looking at the screen in her hand. The guy standing in line at the grocery store, or the people riding the bus, or the nanny at the playground—everybody is obsessed with these tiny screens.  Something needs to be done.

I took the first step yesterday evening (after recognizing the problem). I sat on my couch with my wife to watch Netflix movies, without smartphone interruption. One of those movies was Craigslist Joe, a great documentary by Joseph Garner, about his 31 days living with no money, no home and no contacts. He was restricted to whatever he could get from Craigslist, and the goodwill of the community. Perhaps yesterday’s experience was a dramatic exercise for me that came at the right time, serving as a reminder  that technology-based tools can help us humans to connect better… when used in moderation.

TweeksBI= “This week’s Big Inspiration.” Concepts, ideas, trends and things that I find thought-provoking.