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As part of broadbandchoices.co.uk’s #missingout campaign, Advanced-Television’s Nik Roseveare agreed to go 24 hours without his smartphone…
The first task of the day is to wake up without the aid of an alarm. Sure, I could dig out some archaic alarm clock to assist me in the first hurdle of the challenge – but where’s the sense of danger in that? I wake up and glance at my watch; it’s 7:33am – some 20 minutes before my iPhone alarm would normally go off. Go instincts! Today is going to be a cinch…
I then automatically seek to grab my phone. I want to check my text messages, my emails, the news headlines, the weather forecast and, of course, who’s been hassling me on social media. But I can’t. I trudge to the shower feeling hollow of information. It’s a mighty tough start to the day after all.
Before I board the tube to work, it occurs to me I would look clinically insane without earphones in. Who dares risk having to converse with strangers on public transport in this day and age?! Thus I opt to wear my earphones anyway, with the other end plugged into nothing but my empty pocket. I genuinely wish I was fibbing.
In the office, I sit at my computer and it’s an immense joy to once again have the Internet at my fingertips. It’s only been a couple of hours, but I feel positively out of the loop of what’s been happening in the world.
After work I’ve arranged to meet friends for food. I know roughly where the joint is, but without my smartphone I have to rely on the old-fashioned way of wondering around in circles until I happen upon the place, I’m 10 minutes late. This wouldn’t have happened if my good pal Siri was with me.
During our feast, I’m eager to keep up with the football scores (England are playing at Wembley on this particular evening), but the Sky Sports app and Jeff Stellings’ beaming smiley face are not at hand. Alas, none of my party are football fans and instead I have to rely on asking a stranger in a football shirt the score on the tube home. As well as kindly telling me the score, the chap also gives me a look of puzzled empathy, presumably unable to comprehend how a football fan in 2015 isn’t able to know the scores without having to query a drifter.
On the train home I read the newspaper (Yes! A physical format to satisfy my hungry brain!). I see a review for a movie that piques my interest. Instinctively I reach for my pocket to check showtimes on the Cineworld app, and for the umpteenth time today I grimace at how much I’ve come to rely on this tiny device.
It’s honestly no real eye-opener to learn how reliant I’ve become on having literally all the information in the world handily stored in my pocket to use at my convenience. I expected no other outcome but frustration. Going without it for a day made me get slightly more exercise than normal, and has certainly ensured that I engage in conversation with my fellow beings a little more frequently. But it’s not a convenience I could or would ever seek to rid from my life.
I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with the current generation’s thirst for information and interaction. I’ve only really missed my smartphone when I’ve required instant knowledge, or some musical accompaniment for my commute. I’ve mildly missed social media, but I can fully accept that as being a “want” rather than a “need”.
Obviously the key to correct smartphone etiquette is to never bury your face in your device for prolonged periods during social gatherings. It’s rude, it’s reclusive and it really is the absolute worse thing anyone can do with a smartphone. Well… That and take pictures of their food.