I dropped my phone in the toilet.
Ever since I’ve had a smart phone it has been with me day and night, even when nature calls. Why would I want to read a magazine in the bathroom when I could play Angry Birds or listen to a podcast? My phone has ventured into the bathroom with me countless times, always escaping unscathed.
Now instead of resting at my hip in my super cool phone holster, my beautiful iPhone 4 is resting in a bag of rice on life support. Honestly it feels like a part of me has been cut off. When people lose limbs they say they feel phantom pains where their leg or arm used to be. I feel the same way; I go to reach for my phone to tweet or text but there’s nothing there.
After dropping my phone in the toilet I spent the rest of the night getting my old phone set up and ready to go. I had to get my email setup, Tweetdeck, Facebook and Words with Friends; it’s like I went into disaster recovery mode. With my phone out of commission I had to work as fast as I possibly could in order to reconnect with the world from which I had been so cruelly unplugged.
And when I finally got reconnected do you know what I had missed?
Nothing at all.
Sure I had missed a few tweets and status updates. I had missed out on immediately receiving some junk mail. But in the end, even though I felt extremely disconnected, I really hadn’t missed anything.
Sometimes it feels like we have come to view technology as the ends instead of just the means. I love technology and it has greatly improved our lives. Even narrowing down the focus, I love social networking. The opportunity to stay connected with my friends, coworkers and students through Twitter, Facebook and texting is amazing. But sometimes I get so consumed with social networking that I forget it’s just a means to the goal of strengthening relationships, not the goal itself.
It felt like when I dropped my phone in the toilet that I’d lost my ability to connect and communicate with others. It’s not like I had lost my ability to speak, write or listen, I’d just lost the ability to do that through my phone. Outside the bathroom there was a large group of people with whom I could connect, even without the advent of a phone.
So even though I miss my phone and I wish I hadn’t dropped it in the toilet, like Gloria Gaynor said, I will survive.
Are we too dependent on technology to connect and communicate with others? Why or why not?