Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

1/17/2013

Sinking into the digital experience

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

After a decade of analog connectivity, I finally caved and "upgraded" to an iPhone 4. (Yes, I know the iPhone 5 already came out, but for me this is a big upgrade.)

I've only had the phone for about three days but I can already sense my phone habits changing. Where I used to look at my phone only when it beeps or rings, signaling text messages or incoming calls, I now find myself getting fidgetal.

Shutterstock/Alan Poulson Photography
I could literally tweak a million tasks remotely from the iPhone's many apps. On a bus ride to and from the Capitol Records building, many others were similarly afflicted. Everyone had their hands on their phones: listening to music, playing the Simpson's Tapped Out, or just plain old fiddling. I personally was thinking of ways I could better re-arrange the icons that appear on my dashboard.

The time when phones were just convenient communication devices has long past. And, along with it, I find that some of my sentimentality is oozing away too.

I started with a simple Nokia 6150 during my senior year in high school. Then, I moved on to a 6210, a nice cherry red 8210, and finally a Sony Ericsson K750. I took care of each phone I had, knowing there was some kind of continuity from one phone to another.

In every case, I only had to change up the SIM card in the phones to transfer all my contacts and saved messages. I was so sentimental in fact that I would often keep messages from loved ones in the Inbox indefinitely. Yup, ask any high school or college girl at the time and you'd probably come across the same phenomena. Despite being increasingly digital, we still enacted the equivalent of keeping old love letters in our phone.

I continued to do the same even in 2009 when I first moved to the US and bought a really simple (and cheap) Samsung T239. Messages, sometimes years old, could still be squirreled away.

But, once I upgraded to the iPhone, I found I couldn't do that anymore. First, I had to switch out my SIM card to a smaller, micro SIM. Effectively wiping out my little "inbox of letters." Then, I can't really even save certain messages. The iPhone texts in chat-style, prioritizing person over singular message. It's undoubtedly more efficient, but it makes it more difficult to find just that right message you were looking for.

The more digital this world becomes, the more I expect my sentimentality to wane even further. Or perhaps, they'll only make really great  handwritten messages even more special. I don't really know. For now, I'll wade into this new digital dimension with caution. This new world has great benefits no doubt, but at the very least, I don't aspire to obsessively fidget with my phone whenever the mood strikes me.


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