Smartphone Junky

July 4, 2010

‘… and I’ll tell ya, things aren’t quite the same
When I’m rushing on my run…’
(Lou Reed, ‘Heroin’)

Panic mounts; an unsettling jolt hits the cortex when you get the no network message. How many times an hour… sorry, let me rephrase that: how many times a minute do you unholster and check for new mail, twitter notifications etc? How often do you find your attention drawn to whether that red light is flashing intermittently meaning you’ve got updates? If you’re a heavy user, the answer is most likely: yes.
We live in an age of information overload. Multiple answers to our incessant queries. Multiple realities engaged as we increasingly log out of our mundane existential life and log in to our online selves. We are legion. Look around you. Check out that unassuming army of app zombies, striding purposefully along their vectors like automatons, heads slightly bent forward, gazing intently at 4 square inches of light emitting diodes and 120g of plastic cupped in their steady hands.
Darwinian digression: our ancestors were primates, apes. One of the things that sets us apart from them is our highly developed power to reason. One thing we have in common is opposable thumbs, which allow us to grasp, grip, hold, handle and … fire off a tweet in under half a minute. I don’t know about you, but I’m using my thumbs now like there’s no tomorrow and getting ambidextrous into the bargain. And with the advent of touchscreen technology, those ‘ET phone home iPhone index fingers’ will get just about as nimble and responsive as a plastic surgeon’s.
We switch apps as if we were switching realities. We’re getting hooked on checking out our online alter ego(s). How long will it be before they take over from our ‘real’ ones? Before our online conversations, interactions, behaviours become more important, more fulfilling? If it hasn’t happened to some of you already . . .
Need to sign off – withdrawal symptoms starting to kick in, been offline too long. I’m gonna get my next fix – requesting . . . running script . . . loading . . . – man, that feels good!

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