The answer is, probably not. But “dumb phones” are making a comeback.
It has less to do with the new Adele video than you think. (Here’s the director’s answer for why Adele has a flip phone in her latest video, “Hello” versus a smartphone. )
Though, it did get me thinking. “I am naked when I’m not connected to my iPhone.” It’s a tired conversation, punctuated by memes that mock our generation of screen-starers and text-claw wielders. There are infographics and statistics that show us how our posture has been affected, how it is RUINING OUR LIVES, legitimately BAD FOR OUR BRAINS, and not just for cooking it in all that radiation. Carpal tunnel, text-pinkie, are just a few other physical side effects from our cellular attachments. We’ll probably cause some sort of disruption in the evolutionary line. And for what? Another mindless Facebook update or selfie?
The author of a really well-written and relatable Wired essay titled, “I’m Quitting Social Media To Find Out What I Actually Like” explains how she disables her social media accounts every August, moving them into a “Do Not Touch” folder on her smartphone, turning off the notifications, and replacing her profile photos with “Back 9/1.” She walks us through the immediate aftermath, the physical withdrawals, the emotional FOMO phenomena, the acute but temporary inclination to reach for your phone at bedtime and scroll through Instagram before falling asleep.
But from time to time, when you want vacation advice from friends who’ve been to Iceland, or when you wish you had an email address for a professional contact, you’ll remember: this stuff is useful.
Social media exists because it makes our lives, arguably, better. We’re more connected, sometimes more productive, and it lends to so many life-hacking shortcuts when it comes to everyday tasks (i.e. restaurant reviewing, AirBnB, money exchanging, etc.).
Like any technology, it’s not the tool that poses the problem. It’s how we use that tool.
Do we need digital detoxes like this to remember to put our phones away at a party or walking down the street? Do we need devices pried from our hands in order to be present and in the moment with our friends in family? I’m going to say no, we don’t. We’ve gotten by without them before, and despite our dependency on them, the fact that we need to quit them cold turkey like a drug to wean ourselves off the media is kind of embarrassing. If you decide to click any of the links I’ve cited in this blog, let it be this list of important reasons to unplug.
Which is what brings me back to flip phones.
You probably use a smartphone, like two-thirds of Americans. But did you know that there is a list of wildly successful and important people that use flip phones? (Spoiler alert: ANNA WINTOUR and President Obama)
Security reasons, functionality, and indestructibility are among the reasons these stars, CEOs, politicians, and moguls still hang onto their flip phone. Could it be that they have the right idea? (Fun fact. Kim Kardashian is addicted to Blackberry phones and buys multiples off eBay because she’s scared they’re going to go extinct.)
Ellyn Shook, the chief human resources officer for consulting firm Accenture, made the move to an LG flip phone at the start of the summer. She’s interviewed by The Huffington Post here, and claims that the self-imposed ban on keeping her iPhone by her bedside has made her sleep better. The rest of the world is catching on, and for the better: simplicity, security, and small size. Soon the social media crazed masses will find the inevitable balance between being connected and just being. And frankly, couldn’t we all use a better night’s sleep?