Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guest Blog - Cellphones and Unintended Circumstances

Another gem from Elizabeth:

The word keeps coming out that cellphones are dangerous to use while driving, even if you are wearing that Bluetooth thing on your ear that make you look like a cyborg. People ask, why should that be any different than talking to someone in your car?

I suggest that electronic communication system devices make you not really there even though you’re there.

Ever been on an elevator with someone having an intense conversation on the cellphone? I have, many times, and the frequency is increasing. Shoulder to shoulder with people on an evelator and there’s someone with us hissing loudly on her cellphone that “you did too sleep with that bitch.” Or some guy yelling “don’t even tell me you care about me.” These people seem totally clueless to the fact that they are in a very small space among many strangers who are hearing their most personal business. This is really changing elevator etiquette.

I can’t help noticing how much technology is altering how we communicate, and how much—or rather little—we notice or care about the people in our immediate environment as a consequence.

I teach at a couple of college campuses. Campuses were once places where you met new people, and your education extended far beyond the classroom to talking about the material you’ve been exposed to with students you’ve met in those classrooms. Cellphones are really changing all that.

Why extend yourself to new people in your immediate environment when you can just call up the people you’re already comfortable with on your always-available cellphone?

I always smile and nod a hello to anybody who passes by me. But more and more, people just don’t seem to be present: they’re on their cellphones.

When the cellphone phenomenon first started to bloom, I’d think the person talking next me was talking to me. When that person failed to respond, I’d think, maybe this person needs a new med. But no. This person is on her cellphone. I really don’t exist for her.

A whole new layer of alienation, brought to us by a device that greatly extends our ability to connect.

Talk about your unintended consequences!

1 comment:

themadandwild said...

Talking on your moblie isn't the same as the car because you've got a second pair of eyes, and you can take as long as you want to respond, and the person realises that your driving, or that your particular maneuver is difficult.