I don’t own an iPhone or a Blackberry or any kind of smart phone for that matter—in fact, I never have. So yeah, maybe I’m a little bit bitter, but I also see the infinite possibility in my shitty old brick phone, and I’m convinced that sometimes, old technology is better than new technology. Sure my phone can’t contact to the Internet. Sure all I can do is call and text (GASP!). Sure it doesn’t have a camera. I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering how I haven’t died, and sometimes I wonder the same thing.
It’s more than just a hipster nostalgia—that grating yet endearing cycle of generations that leads a cultural subset to seek a connection with the past, indentified in Generation Y through actions like playing vinyl records or taking photos on film (although my commitment to my phone is less reactive than it is necessary considering my measly budget)—that attaches me to old technology. Having experienced new mobile technology only at arms length, through my many iPhone wielding peers, I have noticed some traits existent in the old that have escaped the new, which gives me a refreshed sense of affection for my cellular dinosaur.
There are distinct, identifiable times when my phone is better than yours (assuming you have an iPhone). The times when I drunkenly drop it in the middle of the dance floor; when I’m camping and my tent gets flooded and I wake up to find it floating in a puddle of water; when I’m carrying too many things at once and clumsily drop everything on the ground; when I’m angry and throw my phone across the room and it bounces of a wall or other hard surface. In these moments, my old phone is better than your new phone because it doesn’t break. I just pick it up, turn it off and back on, maybe open up the back to let it dry, and it’s working again, as good as new and barely a scratch to show for the trauma. Meanwhile, I’ve seen people sneeze and their iPhone screen cracks.
I also find having an Internet-less phone conducive to socializing. I’m never “checking in” or Tweeting when I’m out with friends, just looking at their faces (which, admittedly, are normally focused on their own fancy phone screen) and listening to them speak. I’d really hate to be one of those people who is too busy stalking the ‘book to hold a proper conversation at a bar; being stuck to a screen while socializing is just… rude. My phone is better than yours because there is no temptation to check it every 30 seconds for social media updates when I am in the company of real life humans. I also can’t use my phone to Google answers to questions that arise in conversation, and I imagine if no one could we’d all sit around arguing and discussing things instead of instantly accessing the answer before turning the topic to something else equally as fleeting.
And, if you’ve never played old school mobile phone snake, you’re missing out. I promise it’s better than Angry Birds. Finally, while I’m on the topic of old school technology, let’s all admit that stringing together two cans and talking through them say, from tree house to the ground, is about as much fun as you can have without taking your pants off.
image – Guy Schmidt