A plea for shitty mobiles

By Michael Seckler

Having studied history I learned about a special group of people that has always been there. A group that we, when looking back to them, devote a pitiful smile at best. I am talking about the ones that tried to reverse the irreversible. The ones that mistook progress for a hype.

Why then, could be asked, even write about the harms of smartphones? The world will certainly not go back to the heavy, colorless and monophonic pieces of shit we started our digital careers with. Quite the opposite: With Google’s ambition to release its “augmented-reality”-product “Google Glass” in 2014 the next step of digitalisation seems just around the corner.


However, being still the owner of a non-smart – in fact pretty stupid – phone, I am in the lucky position of observing how the rest fondles their portable darlings. And I came to the conclusion that not everything about them is amazing. So here they are, my personal top five reasons why to sell your smartphone:

1. It’s boring.

Why? Here is just one of many examples: About a week ago I got into a discussion about the exact results of the german football team during the world championship in 2006. The other guy just couldn’t be convinced: I brought all my evidence to the table, told him all my memories of the game and the final score, but he was convinced that we (Germany) played 4:2 and not 4:1 against Costa Rica. What a fool! Just as I was about to invite him to bet me, the fully equipped guy next to us looked up from his phone and said: “It was 4:2. Wanchope scored in the 73rd minute”. Conversation over. Of course I was 50% pissed because of my bad memory, but the other 50% were clearly focused on the guy and his omniscient phone. Having all the facts, always and immediately sometimes is just not better, but boring.


2. It’s not healthy.

No worries! I am not talking about radiation, this ship has sailed long ago. I’m talking about what it essentially means to check you smartphone every 10 minutes. It means to always do more than one thing at a time. I don’t want to get too spiritual about it, but I do think it is healthy to do one thing after another and to concentrate on what you are doing. Of course this is hardly ever possible, but not having a smartphone makes it a lot easier. Even if this means to sit on and off in the bus without anything to do (like shooting around with angry birds for example…).


3. It can be impolite.

That’s not news, so maybe rather shortly on this: I prefer “hi” to “what is your wifi-password?”. I also like to get the feeling that my story is better than anybody’s “It’s snowing” or “I’m hungry”-post on facebook.


4. It affects curiosity for the non-digital world.

Again, just recently, I experienced the most obvious example for this point. I was sitting on a plane to Girona / Spain. Next to me a maybe 10-year-old boy, his smartphone and his mother. While the plane was rolling on the runway, checking the motors and finally taking off I couldn’t believe my eyes: This little boy preferred to jump and run on his phone instead of observing how a plane started just around him. In the real world. Maybe he was a business-kind-of-kid and he’s on a plane every week, but still: Think back of 10-year-old you! A plane taking off, the sound, the shaking, the world getting smaller: There is no way I wouldn’t have looked out of the window!

Why does it make a difference? Because…


5. …real is better than digital.

Why? Because it’s real. Take facebook for example. People sometimes seem to forget the artificial character of this digital “I” most of us (including me) created on the website. What we present there is something we want other people to see. But real-you is not always photogenic, funny and secure. How honest and open you might be with you Avatar, it is always less than what you really are. To me it seems to be somewhat like open fire on a TV screen. It looks just like the real one, it is a little bit cleaner without burning smoke in the eyes, but it also doesn’t give a lot of heat.


2 thoughts on “A plea for shitty mobiles

  1. Pingback: Lists, the news of the future? | We should name this soon

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