Monday, July 26, 2010

Smartphone envy...or not?

I'm not sure I can remember a time when smartphone was not yet a word, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only one left without a device which can check my email.  Sure, I have a cellphone, but I use it exclusively for phone calls and occasional pictures of my kids to use as my phone's wallpaper.  But now I wonder if there is a new arms race going on, an arms race to see who is the most important?

This is what I'm getting at: it appears to me that a person with a smartphone is "important", while a person without a smartphone is "not important".  I feel this is particularly acute at work or networking parties.  "Important" people have smartphones, and during meetings, the smartphone lets out some kind of noise when an email has been received, making the smartphone owner "super important".  Other attendees at the meeting silently wait for their phones to ring in concert, announcing to the world that they too are "super important".  The "extremely important" people actually respond to the email during the meeting, indicating to the world that this email that was received absolutely positively must be responded to RIGHT NOW or else the world just might collapse, and so the email cannot wait even one. more. second.  Those who check the email during the meeting but do not respond to it are subtly-but-not-really indicating to the world that, "Yes, I am important, but I am aware of this and will graciously give you my attention right now during this meeting, but know that at any moment I can respond to this email".

Those without a smartphone, like me, just want to get the meeting over with so that we can move on with our lives, but because everyone is taking the time to respond to their emails on their smartphones, or checking their emails, then we cannot hold a discussion and so the meeting. just. plods. along.

And don't think that this post indicates that I have a deep-seated envy about all this; I actually don't.  I had a Blackberry in my previous job and I don't in this one and I love the freedom that not having a smartphone brings me.  When I attend meetings or meet people one-on-one, I don't have to worry about who is emailing me and what are they saying; I can focus my attention 100% on what/who is in front of me.  I find it liberating not to be "chained" to the smartphone.

Besides, I can always borrow my husband's iPhone...

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