From “Stupid Phone” to “SmartPhone”–More Accessibility Or Less?

29 Oct

After witnessing my friends surfing the Internet and using Google map to direct us to different locations on their smartphones, I decided to get rid of my three-year-old cracked mirror phone and pursue the more up-to-date technology: iPhone 4S.

The first thing I did after getting my iPhone was to download apps especially the social networking apps like Facebook, Chinese Facebook, Skype, Trillian, Whatsapp and Talkbox. The various apps make me instantly accessible by my friends in different parts of the world for free. By using these apps, I can contact my friends on a regular basis as well as reconnect with past schoolmates. Compared to the time when I could only call or text my friends on my old “stupid phone,” the smartphone seems to make my life more convenient and myself more reachable.

Due to Internet access on my iPhone, I’m always shown as “online” for these apps and as a result, my friends have started contacting me through all these different ways. One time my friend asked me to lend her a book for a really urgent test via Chinese Facebook message. However, I don’t check Chinese Facebook as often as I use the other apps. I found out about the message a few days before her test, and I felt really bad that I could’ve saved her so much time searching the book online and waiting for it to arrive.

The same thing happened to me when I sent a Facebook message to someone and that person never got back to me. I started questioning whether we really become more accessible as technology brings us more convenience.

As Frank Bruni discusses in his article “Sorry, wrong inbox,” “we’ve become so accessible we’re often inaccessible.” Technology has expanded these ways to communicate to each other, however, we don’t know what other people’s preferences of communication are, and they don’t know our preferences either.

Thus when we choose a way to communicate, we run the risk of not getting access to a particular person right away. Before when we were limited to a few ways of communication, we didn’t have to guess other people’s preferences and could get to a person easily. Smartphones do bring us more ways of communication, but they don’t guarantee the accessibility that “stupid phones” do.

by Da Zhang


2 Responses to “From “Stupid Phone” to “SmartPhone”–More Accessibility Or Less?”

  1. Elisabeth Green October 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    There is a fine line between accessible and too accessible with the recent advancements in smart-phone technology. It is almost impossible to go a day without your phone, if you have a Blackberry, Android, or iPhone, because it holds your multiple e-mail accounts and various social media profiles. People begin to find it rude if you do not respond to their e-mail or Facebook message within the hour. Although these phones make communication much more instant, it definitely can have opposite results because of how overwhelming it can be. I personally put my phone on silent, set my Facebook account as offline, and I have tried to unsubscribe to many junk e-mails, so my phone is not beeping at me every ten seconds.

    • Jake Lazarus November 1, 2011 at 7:15 am #

      It’s funny, because people find it rude if you don’t respond to their e-mail or Facebook messages, while at the same time it is often seen as rude to be texting or messaging on your phone while you are with other people. It seems to me like a lose-lose situation, though I think that the people you are with at the moment have priority over answering emails and texts.

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