Friday, July 25, 2014

Why I Still Have a Flip Phone

I'm not a Luddite.  I swear.  I love technology and think it makes our lives easier each passing day.  While I'm not "old", I'm old enough to remember the days when looking for a movie to watch meant making a trip to Blockbuster rather than whipping out your Kindle Fire and going on Netflix.  I also remember the days when my dad used to type up (on a typewriter) his resume when he would go on job interviews.

The day I got my iPod back in 2006 was the beginning of a new era for me, as I'm sure it was for most people when they got their first iPod or MP3 player.  It freed me from having to make that high stakes choice: lug around 100+ CDs so you have musical variety, or take only 2 or 3 to cut down on your luggage weight.  Whichever choice you made, you were bound to regret it.  But the iPod changed things.  I could 7,000 songs on one small light weight device.  Plus, I could scroll to exactly the song I wanted, rather than having to hit "next" over and over until getting to where I wanted to be.  It was really a 90s kid's dream come true.

I still have that iPod by the way.  It's been 8 years, I've taken it on countless runs, trips to the gym, road trips, even just regular old sitting on the couch listening to music, and it still works.  Hopefully will for a while.
Now that I've established my technological bone fides, let me explain my opposition to smart phones.  First off, I have nothing against the idea of smart phones: being able to look something up or get directions, or read email or hell, just talk to someone on Facebook when you're bored, no matter where you are (more or less) is great. It's a tremendous value.

The problem I have is that I think the value is overpriced relative to what I'm willing to pay for it.  My brother pays 80 dollars a month for his data plan.  I currently pay about 45 dollars for my talk and text plan.  The extra 35 dollars might not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year that's about 400 dollars.  I'm not being cheap, I just have different values.  If you told me I could pay 400 bucks to go on Facebook wherever I go, or Twitter, or read emails, etc., I think I'd pass.  I have an iPod touch that I bought last September for 300 dollars that does most things a smart phone does (with the exception of phone calls), it just requires a Wi-Fi connection to do so.  So I know what apps are and I know the basics of smart phone usage.  It works for me, I'm fine with it, anyone who needs to get in touch with me can call or text me.  Important people have my number.

I won't knock anyone for feeling differently though.  I'm sure there are people who think I'm crazy for paying money to go see baseball games or my gym membership or the food that I eat.  And I'm sure there are people for whom 400 dollars is not that big of a deal.  I'm sure that if I made more money than I currently do, I might decide that a smart phone was a good idea.

It's nothing personal.  I'm not a better, more socially connected person because I don't have a smart phone.  I'm not "more real", I'm not a Luddite bent on destroying every semblance of technology on Earth.  I'm just someone who doesn't value the benefits of a smart phone like most people do.

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