Six ways smartphones can change your life

28 March 2012

Written by: Anne Nielsen

# 1: The day that never happened

I read somewhere that people have spent 120,000 years playing ‘Angry birds’ since the game was first launched two years ago. If we add all the other popular games on smartphones to this calculation, like ‘Wordfeud’ and ‘Draw something’, imagine how many millenniums would pass right by us? I can’t help but think what people would have spent these hours on, had the games never been invented. Had we spent them on family and friends? Or would it simply increase our time on Facebook?

 

# 2: The sentence you never finished

You’re in the middle of an intriguing conversation with another person, when his smartphone beeps with a Facebook-update, a text or news for The Age. Studies show that the majority of us find it irritating when people we’re interacting with lose focus because of their smartphone, and many even see it as outright impolite. Professor Richard Ling explains that the social etiquette in the use of smartphones has yet to be established, since these devices have only become common properties within the last two years. The paradox in the matter is that many use their smartphones in order to not miss out on anything, but the reality is that they might do just that, since they’re not 100 per cent focussed  on the situation that they’re in.

 

# 3: The stranger you never met

You’re standing at a bus stop. Everybody is awkwardly looking around, stirring the grass under their feet. This is the moment where ‘Draw something’ pops into your head, and you’re saved. I once met this woman at a bus stop, and we got to talk. She told me great tales about her life, her travels and her tragedies, and even though I found it a little weird that this woman would pour her soul out to me, I loved every minute of our conversation. Our encounter only lasted until the next bus arrived, but in that time I had a little sneak peak into a life and person of many colours. Yesterday, I didn’t meet anybody at the bus stop. I played ‘Draw something’, and now I wonder if any of the people playing next to me had any great tales to tell.

 

# 4: The argument you never had

One of the great things about getting together with friends is the great discussions you might have. Sitting around a dinner table sharing ideas and speculations can inspire you and teach you things you never would have imagined. However, pockets filled with smartphones may rob you the chance of a great argument, since disagreements can easily be solved via Wikipedia. With a world of knowledge just a reach away, you might miss out on great discussions and the new ideas that could come from these.

 

# 5: The traffic accident that could have been avoided

I saw something shocking the other morning. And at the same time maybe probably not shocking at all. As I was walking to my bus a woman rushed past me, busy to get to work on time. In her arms she carried an iPhone, in which she was very occupied. As you may have already imagined, she forgot to stop at the curve, and ended up under the bus instead of inside it. So, please look up once in a while, and don’t let angry birds be the last thing you see.

 

# 6: The friendship you never found

You’re at a party and you meet somebody new. You don’t have time to actually interact with this person, so you quickly check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Now, this is a great tool, but what does it do to our people skills? This person might turn out to be your next favourite person, but because of a bad profile picture or a poor tweet you might disregard the person for good.

 

Look, it might not come across this way, but I genuinely love smartphones and believe them to be a great help in many things. However, while great things go on in there, look up once in a while – the world out here is pretty great too, and you don’t want to miss out, right?

 

Anne Nielsen is third-year Bachelor of Media Studies student at La Trobe University. She is currently on exchange from Aarhus University, Denmark, and is upstart’s deputy-editor. You can follow her on Twitter@AnneRyvang.