Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Survived: My Day Without a Smartphone

My friends and family often poke fun at me that I couldn’t survive without my iPhone. Well, a few weeks ago I spent 24 hours that proved them wrong. No, I don’t have enough will power to attempt this on my own, but when upgrading to the iOS 5 platform crashed the software on my iPhone 4, I was in for a rude awakening. I would have written this post sooner, but I was still coming to terms with this traumatic experience - okay that's an exaggeration, though I did once cry when I left it in a cab.

My iPhone crashed with impeccable timing too, one minute into a conference call with a client, while I was working from home – without a landline. Panicked, I knew I had to think like a 2011 PR pro and use the resources around me. Within minutes, I had purchased Skype credit and was dialed back in through my laptop. Okay so that was disaster number one, and it was only within the first hour of not having my iPhone. When 5:30 hit, I was ready to be out the door on my way to the Apple store, but I wanted to check the weather first. Instinctively, I reached for my iPhone to open the Weather app. Oops, can’t do that. Immediately, I thought, wait – how do people check the weather without the weather app. Yes, I sat there pondering this for about 10 seconds, sitting in front of not one, but two laptops – my Macbook and my work laptop. Eventually, I figured out it out, grabbed a jacket and was out the door to the Apple store.

The Genius Bar had bad news for me – the server crashed and there was nothing they could do. Not only was I being deprived of my early-adopter status of downloading iOS 5 immediately after it was available, but they couldn’t even restore my old software. On top of all that, I couldn’t check in to the Apple store in Peabody through FourSquare – and any social media fiend knows that checking in at Apple is critical.

Like any good mobile-obsessed tech geek, of course I have a back-up phone ready to go for emergencies. Off I went to AT&T, where I met the most helpful sales representative – thanks Brian. So I was ready to go with my PanTech dumb phone. This is when disaster continued to occur. When you’re used to doing things a certain way, it’s hard to adapt. I called my aunt who lives nearby – yes I do recall how to use phones to call people. We decided to meet for dinner and I was headed to pick her up. Instinctively, I picked up my phone to Google Map the best way to get to her place from the mall. Oh wait, dumb phone, I don't have Google maps. I took the wrong exit, and went minutes out of my way. At the restaurant, I wanted to show my aunt photos on Facebook multiple times, but had to settle for actually describing things myself. I managed to make it through the meal and some wine with my aunt. When I got home that night, I had a small panic attack, setting four different alarms, not counting on any of them to wake me up on time. Nervous, I even Tweeted for someone to call me at 6:30 a.m. to make sure I woke up on time – no one called by the way, thanks guys.

The next day was nearly disastrous. As I sat on the train to work, I came up with the idea to write this post and reached for my iPhone to make some notes...another failed attempt. I decided to text my brother, trying multiple times to touch the non-touch screen to navigate my way. I tried again to check in on FourSquare, and to check my email. I wanted to Tweet about the "hardship" of not having an iPhone, but I had to wait till I made it into the office.

We get used to things a certain way, and we take things for granted. It threw me off to be so disconnected, and I'd like to say I had some profound realization that I don't need this technology in my life and I rid myself of the smartphone, but I didn't. The truth is, and this will shock a lot of people, I never thought I needed an iPhone. I saw the value in it and I wanted it. After having one for so long, it's hard to adjust, but not impossible and I'll say it - not necessary. But I like always knowing where I'm going nd being able to do the things I like on-the-go. I've said this many times, I love technology because it's constantly working to make our lives better, more efficient. That's what the iPhone does for me. So yes, my life was less efficient for that 24 hours, but it wasn't unmanageable. I'm here to say, I'm a survivor. I'm not better for it, I'm not worse for it - I was simply annoyed. That's my PR thought for thought for the day.

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