Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cell Phone Phrenzy

Recently I read that "texting" has all but replaced conversation among young people. The article began by describing a teen-aged girl who texted her mother -- who was downstairs at the time -- that she would like cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Have we come to this?

I hardly consider myself a technophobe. From the very beginning, I embraced computers. PCs alleviated the repeated retyping of documents. Searching for and confirming information, checking spelling, reformatting at the drop of a hat -- computers brought much needed advancement.

But I never "got" some of the other features of technology. I can't imagine watching an entire movie on a computer screen. I tried to watch a mini-series on my flat screen and could not tolerate the focus that was required or the tiny picture.

I evolved with music through the years from LPs to CDs. But obtaining yet another device which would allow me to play tinny-sounding tunes seemed silly. Some of these devices offer a so-called dock so that the tinny-sounding music can be heard louder.

Then there are cell phones. I have a simple cell phone and carry it when I drive long distances. Once I had to use it for an emergency call when my car broke down on the interstate. I was able to reach my office, a tow company and a repair shop while I waited at the side of the road. That was enough to demonstrate the importance of a cell phone.

However, based on overheard conversations the majority of cell phone conversations are not emergencies. One can't help but "overhear" conversations on a daily basis. Callers seem unaware that when they shout into a phone, more people hear what they are saying than the person on the other end of the conversation.

My cell phone is simple since it was designed to be used as a phone. It doesn't have a camera. Why would I want to photograph every moment of every day, as some people do? What events could possibly be that momentous? I have an actual digital camera small enough to tuck in my pocket for special events. It seems doubtful that Alexander Graham Bell imagined that a camera on a telephone could be anything more than a gimmick. There is also the issue of clarity and dropped calls. If  Bell had been trying to reach Watson on a cell phone inside of a building, that first message might never have been received.

Then there is Facebook. I have an account and although I hardly ever use it, I frequently receive invitations to "like" something or to "friend" someone I rarely see. Why would I want to have 200+ "friends" including people I don't even know and will likely never meet? Some people must enjoy having a lot of something, whether it's baseball trading cards or "friends." It must be a bragging point to have 150 or so people shown as your friends. Don't get it.

That brings me back to the issue of texting. What is the thrill of typing a message to someone quickly, in limited space and discarding the rules of punctuation and spelling? Some of the messages I see posted say things like: "Going in Walmart. Be hm in 15 min." Despite various states enacting laws to prohibit texting behind the wheel, many people continue to do so, for some strange reason.

Funny how we managed so long to exist without cell phones, sending texts and watching movies on our telephones. Some people feel compelled to have the latest phone with the most features regardless of the practicality. Then they wonder how they get big monthly bills.

Go figure.

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