Within the first three days of the iPhone 5’s release, over five million people rushed out to get their hands on what Apple deemed “the thinnest, lightest, fastest iPhone ever.”
Meanwhile, I have come into possession of an almost antiquated Android phone, which I’m using until my usual phone can be repaired.
Of course, when referring to technology today, “antique” is likely to mean anything over a year old, especially if the iPhone 4S can already be considered outdated.
But even the phone salesperson apologized for giving me such an archaic piece of technology, explaining to me that it was the only replacement phone they had left.
Although I make a conscious effort to not be continually glued to my phone, I had no idea how much my day-to-day life would change with its replacement.
Being such a primitive device, this temporary phone does not have the capacity for apps, and I am being forced to go without Twitter, Instagram and Facebook unless I am sitting at a computer.
I was disappointed at first to learn this would be the case, because as far as serious problems go in our society, this one is pretty high on the list.
But my app-less situation has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Without the distraction of social media, I am finding myself more able to enjoy the moment as it happens, rather than trying to figure out how to translate it into a witty tweet or trendy Instagram photo.
I have been surprised at how many little things I appreciate when my attention isn’t completely fixated on smartphone apps.
If I’m not busy Instagramming during a show for some of Kelowna’s local bands, I’m more likely to catch that awesome guitar riff.
At coffee shops, I can more thoroughly enjoy the book I’m reading instead of pausing to tweet about it.
Even when there is no specific activity to fill the phone-less void, it is sometimes nice to just enjoy thinking.
It’s rare that we get the chance to simply sit and think amidst all the business and distractions of our society, and these times are incredibly valuable.
But as much as I have enjoyed certain aspects about not having my smartphone, I don’t hold the viewpoint that social media is society’s great evil, sucking our brains dry of their potential.
In fact, I have found that Twitter does just the opposite for me. By following the right people, I have immediate access to 140 characters of witty, humourous, or insightful thoughts.
Since it’s easier to carry around a phone than a big camera, Instagram has essentially become my photo album.
I enjoy looking back through my collection and remembering the experiences behind the photos.
Social media is an unavoidable part of our lives, and learning how to use it in a way that enriches our experiences rather than detracting from them is key…of how to find a balance.