On November 11, my Blackberry had completely died and given up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never liked it that much. It’s always been a crappy phone, albeit cheap and allowed me to contact anyone on my BBM, Whatsapp and other social accounts easily, thanks to Etisalat’s AED49/month package. But yes, it was slow and it drove me insane to the point where I want to smash it to pieces through a wall. I was alright with its imminent demise.
I was about to succumb to another cheap Blackberry or maybe an Android if I can scrounge up some more. And then, I remembered a part social experiment, part self-seeking journey and story of how a Verge tech journalist left the internet for a year. I could understand his reasons: wanting more ‘real’ social interactions, reduce reliance on internet and so forth. It was brave, crazy and funny, and I really admired it.
Inspired by his accounts, since I don’t think I can last without internet, I decided to forgo an easier level: by ditching my smart phone and going back to a dumb phone, like my dad’s old Samsung flip phone.
It’s been equal amounts of frustration and freedom.
One of the most pivotal reasons why I decided to do this is because I feel like ever since I graduated or since college, really, I’ve had a hard time keeping in touch with friends and subconsciously, I’ve been using social networks and mobile messengers to replace the need to actually meet up and interact with people. Having more barriers to connect with others on a personal level only fuels my introverted and sometimes, anti-social persona. I know I need to learn to talk to people outside my social circles through cold calling and without the ability of deleting a message in mere seconds.
For the most part, I haven’t been doing much ‘socializing’. But what I noticed was when I take calls or text messages (which is a whole different story, by the way. It’s no joke typing without a qwerty keyboard), it was always for a productive point. Whether it was because I missed a friend that I decided to call her, or needed to see another, the calls & texts were done in a straight forward manner. No wishy-washy of bugging and late replies. Just a, “Hey, I miss you, what are you doing today? Do you want to hang out?” or a, “Hey, is it okay if we meet tomorrow morning at 11am?“
Even with work related calls it was just a, “You free to give it by Monday?“
Direct. I like it.
There was a day when I really wished I still had my Blackberry. I needed to contact a number of people and I couldn’t since I didn’t have their numbers (since it was still all in the Blackberry that wouldn’t turn on, plus I have the memory capacity of an adorable goldfish) and I ran out of credit!
I felt so helpless, I was always able to message as many people as I can with a smart phone at the same time, and it was frustrating how unfathomable that this little black phone couldn’t do that too. Luckily, when I got home, Facebook was there to the rescue, much to my cringing (I’m irked by Facebook so much that most of my secondary research for my senior research paper was on how Facebook was just for self image and instant gratification).
Connectivity & Productivity
A few friends are getting annoyed at my ‘experiment’, telling me to just get a new cheap smartphone already. But I can’t help, for some reason, I like not being easily reachable, it means people will think twice before calling or texting me since it costs more effort.
Since I don’t check my phone for messages when I feel like procrastinating, my work productivity has become better. I was able to edit two videos in a day, instead of my usual one video a day goal. It’s funny but I find myself checking my phone for notifications when I know fully well I don’t have a mobile instant messenger and I have to close the flip phone again.
Also, I noticed I’ve become a better companion to talk to since I don’t check my phone every few minutes, unlike the people I’m with. A few are even surprised that I’m focusing so much on them that they have that look of guilt every time they have the urge to check their phone.
I’m doing well on taking and making calls. I think I even like it. You get to ‘hear’ the smile in someone’s voice. Plus, I feel posh for some reason every time I flip it open. My friends even grab it out of my hand to try it.
It’s texting that’s proving to be embarrassingly difficult. At one point, we all used to text efficiently unto these keys with three letters and a number. Sometimes even without looking. And now, it takes me 20 painfully slow and annoying minutes to text, “Where are you?“
It takes so much time, by the time I was halfway and typing, “yo-“, I get a call from the person I was texting. It was kinda funny.
So far, what I love about it is surprising, even for me.
What is it? It’s the battery life! Ahh, the answer to my lazy/forgetful tendencies! It’s been almost a week, I still haven’t charged it and I have two bars left! Ha!
It’s only been a week but, maybe my preferences will change. I’ll be using this flip phone till I can bear it. Who knows. I’ve been told I have issues with electronic devices.