SMART PHONES

Smart phones: brief and impersonal

 

More information


jccigar@aol.com

There is no question that we have never been more dependent on our cell phones. I recently left my phone at a restaurant and the moment I realized I had left it behind — which was no more than a few minutes after I left the place — I had a small panic attack.

The thought of losing my phone was horrifying. Most of our daily communication and scheduling (personal and professional) is done through the little gizmo. The fact that this inanimate object has become such an indispensable tool makes me uneasy. Cell phones have become such integral parts of our lives that it is difficult to remember life without them. And yet, I wonder if we are truly better off with this technological appendage?

Undoubtedly, the speed of communication has progressed by leaps and bounds. From pagers to the first incarnation of cell phones (that looked more like cobblestone bricks than communication devices) to the Smartphones of today, getting in touch has never been easier. While I don’t question the speed and accessibility of these gadgets, I wonder what it has done to our interpersonal exchanges as people?

Today’s phones have definitely changed the mode in which we communicate with one another. Much of our dialogue has pathetically degenerated to brief acronyms describing the most mundane of activities.

Are we compromising the very essence of our humanity every time we text in lieu of a face-to-face conversation or an old-fashioned telephone chat? I suggest we are to an extent. Maybe it’s not as drastic as the complete breakdown of mankind’s civility but there is certainly little question that the radical shift in the way we communicate has irrevocably modified the way we relate to one another.

Smack dab in the middle of the gilded age of technology we text and Skype our ways through our busy lives. Along the way we’ve all adopted the culture of the brief and impersonal mode of communication. Emoticons (the facial expressions transmitted in text messaging by making a smiley or sad face by grouping colons and parenthesis) have replaced handshakes and hugs.

Alarmingly, the Smartphone industry seems to be exclusively catering to the needs of teens.

Most of the applications (or “apps” as they are called) on your phone are games, instant messaging tools or music storage functions. The sleek, playful design of the apparatuses themselves make them attractive if you’re a high-schooler who is planning on slipping your phone into the pocket of your tight jeans when cruising the mall with friends. However, texting an important message on a small touch screen phone is quite the formidable task — at least it is if your fingers are as clunky and clumsy as mine.

Not to mention the fact that to many Miamians, smartphones are not multi-culturally sensitive. I never realized how great a role Spanglish played in my everyday communications until I suffered through the auto correct of my bilingual texts on my smart phone. For many of us, who live on the cultural divide that defines us as hyphenated Americans, keeping the text setting on one language does not suit our special needs.

Not only are the phones not configured for adults but the stores where they are sold can be quite off-putting for tech-challenged commoners like myself. Unless you are a 13-year-old techie who has invested an inordinate amount of time reading up on the latest features offered by the competing brands, you will generally be sold a phone with very little support or instruction as to how to use the mini computer you’ve just purchased.

Years ago, I remember listening to a wise old timer referring to the advent and development of television. He sadly declared, “I’ve never seen something so good, go bad so fast.”

In light of my disdain for the evolution of the cell phone, his statement rings loud and clear.

Read more Joe Cardona stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
CARDONA

    PETS’ TRUST

    County leaders ignoring the people’s will

    Czech author Milan Kundera once wrote, “Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test, consists of its attitude toward those who are at its mercy: animals.”

  •  
MCT

    FATHERHOOD

    Being a single parent is doubly challenging

    For years I watched co-workers and employees —mostly women — hurriedly packing their belongings just before closing time at work, and I wondered why that was? Were they all that miserable at work? Did they all share a phobia for Miami rush-hour traffic?

  •  
Singer Anita Bryant’s campaign against homosexuality jump-started the gay-rights movement.

    GAY RIGHTS

    Tio Bebo: A life not quite fully lived

    For as far back as I can remember my great-uncle, Mario, stood out. He was the patriarch of my family — a distinguished gentleman who had put himself through the University of Havana and willed his way to success, pulling his entire family up by the proverbial bootstraps. He was ethical and compassionate, even-keeled and sophisticated. My Tio Bebo, as we lovingly called him, meant the universe to my mother, whom he helped raise. He was, basically, a third grandfather to me.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category