Back in May 2011, I entered the world of Apple products and smart phones thanks to my dad’s benevolence. In March and April, I had neither the inclination or the funds to get an iPhone, but by the time my renewal had come up, my father had offered to hook me up with an iPhone. Despite the Foxconn workers on my mind, I accepted the gift quite readily.
There have been many benefits to having an iPhone. They include having a 5 Mpx camera on hand at all times, being able to geocache with it, being able to check email from remote locations, etc. And I’ve not thought about the Foxconn workers for quite some time. Truth be told, my mind had become quite cluttered around mid August.
I have a Twitter application on my phone, and I began checking it quite regularly when I had a free moment. I watched the tweets from the Midwest Rising protests in St. Louis. It was like watching the news ticker at the bottom of the screen on cable news stations (FOX NEWS, CNN, MSNBC, etc.), except with more images and first-hand accounts. Weeks later in mid September, I observed the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street “occupation”. Some thought they wouldn’t last the weekend, but I observed in real-time as they sought take-out food and generators. They lasted not days but months.
Twitter and other web sites allow you to find news or stories that you would not normally hear in mainstream newspapers, television shows, or other media sources. While I did appreciate the ability to catch the #Occupy news in a largely unfiltered stream from primary sources, my mind was becoming cluttered from watching all these developments in real-time. Also, there became a great need to sift through crummy posts or free-riders who posted about the events just to receive personal attention or web traffic.
I broke my iPhone glass a couple of months back, and the fracture shook me from a daily existence that was getting somewhat saturated with smart phone usage. I pondered how much of an iPhone junkie or twit I had become. I go back and forth between being too desirous of the constant stimulation the Internet can provide and being content with moderate Internet usage. (What is moderate usage? Once a day? Weekly? Monthly?) A smart phone greatly increases the occasions for overindulgence by providing a portable access point for the data stream. It makes it seem archaic that Neo and Trinity needed to check out of the Matrix at pay phones.
Now that I have an intact phone (for free thanks to Apple) I’m asking myself again, am I an iPhone twit? My girlfriend probably thinks that I check my iPhone too much, and I agree with her in those times when I’m sacrificing engagement with the world in my physical proximity for the erratic stimulus of a digital feed. In the end, the smart phone serves me best when it is a tool aiding the rest of my life, not as an end into itself.
Through the haze of social media posts and game application notifications, I want to remember to be thankful and accountable to the FoxConn workers who put the phone together, the power company workers who facilitate the recharging of said device, and the people and living things that will be burdened with the eventual disposal of my iPhone.