We’ve surfed this wave for years. We’ve gone from the very early days, covering Windows-powered SPV phones, Smartphone 2002 handsets and Pocket PC’s. Now we’re plugged into the modern, fast and ultra-clever smartphones of today.
But I’m worried..
We now live in a world where a colossal 9 hour DJ set (yes, 9 hours) still isn’t enough to stop people holding their phones aloft filming it. Instead of, y’know, enjoying the moment.
We’re in a world where I’m getting bloody emails from PR companies asking me to promote a smartphone as a Valentines gift.
Now, I know I’m not a cool teenager any more, and I know that the PR people are telling me how it “keeps you in touch with loved ones” but (and this is a sentence-busting “but”), what the hell have we come to?
I’m sorry, but I have to echo the feelings of former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya. The smartphone, and social sites like his, are unravelling the very fabric of human interaction.
People are standing next to each other, filming DJ’s, bands, concerts and faffing with their phones in bars. They’re flicking through Tinder instead of actually, bloody, talking to the person sat right next to them. In my day you had to approach a girl, buy her a drink, chat to her, have a dance maybe, arrange a date, have another drink, maybe go on another date.. now you just swipe right with your thumb and then send pictures of your genitalia.
Smartphones are also driving our decision-making too. Advertisers know it. That’s why they’re spending more on pushing ads to your phone rather than TV now. Oh, and don’t get me started on Brexit and Trump, because people are more prepared to believe a brief tweet, a Facebook meme or the highest rated comment on a website instead of actually taking time to digest a well-written and fact-checked piece of investigative journalism.
Nobody allows their views to be challenged, they just find the right echo chamber.
Oh I can’t be arsed with that news story, it’s more than a paragraph long and I’ve got to go through a paywall to read it online. Baggh… I’ll just click “Like” on this cleverly manufactured viral Facebook video which validates my own beliefs.
In a recent interview, Mr Palihapitiya, who used to be vice-president for user growth at Facebook, stated that…
The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.
This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave and how they treat each other. Why talk to the person next to you when you can watch some vacuous, idiotic, fame-hungry, talent-less plonker on YouTube? You know the sort. They’ve decided to get as many subscribers as possible by performing a risky stunt or promising something in return for subscribers. They do something stupid, we make noises about how stupid it is, then we subscribe to their channel, and the cycle begins again.
Nothing will ever be done about the inappropriate content. Not really. You’re pissing in the wind. There’s too much of that and not enough of you.
Broadcast TV, as we knew it just a short while ago, is dead. Streaming, on-demand, instant gratification. That’s what it’s all about. The same with shopping, music, books. Don’t bother working for it. Don’t wait for it. Get your fix now. Be lazy. Free up time to spend even more time staring at the rectangle.
If you want to watch someone say the word “Like” and “Oh my god”, plus “I’m so excited right now” then hey, there’s 535,287 YouTube channels for you. It’s all here folks. Every weird taste. Every strange pastime. Every unusual passion. You can enjoy it all, and so can your wife or girlfriend. They can be staring at the phone you bought for Valentines Day. Your entire family can do the same, plugged into the grid. Fed off the digital intravenous drip.
Welcome to the new definition of “quality time”, where you sit next to your family, suckling on low-quality, cheap, manufactured, viral, crap.
Social media influencers.
Top 10 lists.
Oh yes, Twitch. Don’t get me started on Twitch. Can you imagine that before the internet?
Yeah mate, I just want you to leave your curtains open and I’ll sit across the street with my binoculars watching you play Pac-Man. Would that be cool yeah? If you could just have this walkie-talkie and give me a running commentary, but be all “hyper” and shout a lot for me, that’d be great. Ta.
Although we’re all hooked, smartphone sales across the world have surprisingly dropped in the last quarter of 2017. They’ve actually gone down. Sure, it’s only by a small amount (6.3% compared to the same period in 2016) but this is despite a VERY high-profile launch from Apple. They saw a 1.3% decline in volumes compared to the previous year and, despite the tiny drops of dopamine flooding through our internet-connected veins, people are becoming less keen of the cost of some smartphones.
I need my fix. But I need to pay a bit less for the data drug.
Let’s be honest, and this is something I wrote about in 2013, we’re seeing more of an evolution rather than a revolution. Phones are reaching a plateau now, and simply throwing more glass and aluminium in, then racking up the price further and further.. it’s just not going to work any more.
Huawei, Honor. They’re making extremely good phones. Good and WELL PRICED phones too. People are getting wise.
What about the two biggest players at the party? Well, people are clever enough to know, as time goes by, that the new version of the Samsung or iPhone isn’t that much different to the predecessor, or even the one before that. Customers know that buying an iPhone 6s today really isn’t a massive step down from the all-new iPhone 8.
No it’s not. Not really.
If you think your life is going to be vastly different because you shelled out for an iPhone 8 and your mate went for an iPhone 6s then, well, you’re on glue.
We’re all stuck. We’re not keen on spending even more money for our next device and the phone manufacturers are afraid to try anything different. They’re not going to create anything which isn’t slate-shaped with a big screen.
I’ve seen 6 billion websites where editors, reviewers and bloggers have completely lost their shit because Apple had the sheer audacity to put a notch at the top of the screen. What?! Do you want phones to look the same forever?
Look at the cars we drive. They all have four wheels and, if you’re lucky to be in a country like Britain, the steering wheel is on the correct side. However, each one looks a bit different. They each have their own style. Some cars, like BMW’s and Audi’s, don’t have indicators fitted. Others, like Peugeot’s, don’t have the ability to get out of first gear. However, they’re all different. And different is good people. Different is unique.
This article, in a way, came into being because I had a bit of a meltdown last night. I spotted a baby in a pushchair with a phone in his hand. My mate asked what game he was playing and we all got into a bit of a chat as we were waiting for a birthday party to finish.
He kept using mine, so I had to get him one, he’s quite good at the games.
.. said the mother. F*** me. I nearly fell over. This lad had to be less than 2 years old, if that, and he’s got his own bloody phone. We’re all absolutely screwed. Screwed I tell you.
Good night all. Last one out, turn off the lights. This has all gone to shit.