Before I start off with the actual article, I want to share with you a little story to help you see my point based on things that are actually happening around us every day. Mobile technology users are often disregarded and maybe even bullied based on what they do.
Someone comes along and complains about people “always” hanging on the little screens and not being connected to the world anymore. Well actually they are connected to a larger world, it’s just that the people passing by don’t know it, and they are often not open to understanding it either.
Some years ago people did not know what someone who is looking at a smartphone or mobile computer is doing and they were upset about it. Today they still don’t know and they think people are hanging on WhatsApp and Facebook texting each other. Clearly the ratio is changing towards mobile technology adoption but there is still a general negative perception that leads so far that users who are sensitive to how they are perceived by others, will not pull out a laptop or a smartphone in public even though they would like or even need to.
Just a very personal message to people who passively or actively express their negative emotion on others using mobile devices: How on earth do you know what this person is doing? It is not all fun and games in the life of mobile technology users. They might be studying or maybe they are the professor and prepare a lecture. Maybe it is your banker who is using private time to help you with a matter. Maybe it’s an artist creating something brilliant just now and you destroy the workflow. How dare you judge with your blinders on?
I want this to change in the future. I want everybody to feel happy and content with technology, doing whatever they want to do in public or anywhere really. A technology endpoint does not mean people are disconnected, it means they are currently working on something. Naturally it could be a video game or a TV show – but how does that even concern you? Is that how you express that you are frustrated you never understood this new world? The mature way of handling that emotion looks different in my point of view.
That being said I wanted to show some more examples on what people nowadays can do from their smartphones. Almost everything not related to altering a product physically or that requires a physical mechanism can be facilitated via a smartphone. You can run a whole business only from your phone if you want to.
The world’s knowledge and wisdom is stored and available for everybody in the Internet. If you have a mobile device that can access data from the Internet then you can learn any subject there is – from any place in the world. Neither learning nor teaching is restricted to physical classrooms.
Back in the days you needed cartographers and navigators for all kinds of journeys to help you with your route. Nowadays all maps are drawn and only need to be centrally updated upon changes and the navigation happens mostly automatically.
You no longer need to be present on a physical market in order to offer your goods. People need to know where to find you on the Internet and you need to just trigger processes, manage information and communicate with customers. These are things that you can perfectly do from your smartphone, no matter where you are.
Of course it is still nice to attend concerts and theatre plays nowadays. Don’t get me wrong – mobile is not replacing culture goods. However a smartphone lets you access the world’s repository of movies, shows, music and games. This is the alternative to being bored and looking at the wall on your commute, not the alternative to enjoying the arts.
You can produce all kinds of art with a smartphone. This is only a matter of software creativity mostly. Next to digital painting you can also use the camera on your phone to take awesome photos or videos and edit them right at the spot. After you are done you can share the outcome with your family, friends or the whole world.
You can compose and produce music on your phone. There are professional solutions for that and this is not “only” about DJ applications – we are talking music production and art generation here. Of course you can most likely improve the produced file in your home studio but there’s nothing cooler for an artist than capturing ideas and inspirations right where you are. Let’s face it – inspiration mostly does not happen in your room. It happens outside and everywhere around you.
Last but not least – of course the communication needs to be listed here. Again this is not a digital discipline to replace a meaningful face-to-face conversation but it’s a tool to augment our communication beyond physical boundaries. Whether this happens via video conference, voice call or texting does not matter. What matters is that even the shortest “Sorry! I’m late, but all is okay.” message can mean so much to parents who are waiting for their kids to come home.
I believe you need to embrace new ways that are able to improve your day. Anything that extends my perspective and allows me to connect to a larger world is welcome. Sure you can use your gadgets just for fun, just for chat or to take a selfie without artistic value. But the point is – you don’t know what people are doing with their phone and that does not provide for the foundation to judge the activity negatively. You can play Candy Crush or you can save the world with a smartphone.
Remember: You can no longer tell what a person is doing by looking at them. Activities look different today, but they are not less meaningful just because they are executed from a mobile device.
Did I miss anything important? Did something like this happen to you before? Do you share the view or do you have a different angle on this? Whatever your comment might be, I would love to read your insight below in the comment section. Many thanks for reading!
Photo credit: Jan Vašek / Mrs. Pandora / Took a Pic / Hilary Clark / Graham Lee / Thee Erin / William Gibson Kiel / Unsplash