I would like to start off by saying I love my phone. I use it for just about everything. The best part is being able to access information so easily and quickly, to store all kinds of information and make notes when there is no pen and paper around. We do not need to worry about carrying our phone books (remember those?) and cameras are extra luggage. But with all this comes the other side. The real reason phones were invented. The one reason why I dislike phones.

Phone calls are one thing – in fact I welcome phone calls now. What I dislike is all other means for communicating using the phone. SMS, whatsapp, viber, facebook, twitter etc. And when I say communication I am not talking about a general story that you would share with everyone. I am talking about the intimate details you would share with your closest friends or family. Social media has brought about great changes – sharing information that would previously not have been accessible, getting in touch with long lost friends or assisting businesses grow worldwide. It’s helped make the world smaller. So understand that in this post I am talking about the specific way we now use social media towards our friends or family. When someone asks “When was the last time you spoke to XYZ?” The answer now is normally, “Yesterday, we whatsapped. They’re good.” But do you really know how they are? Can you really say what is going on in their lives? I can tell you that as a self-named introvert, I lie all the time when people ask me on whatsapp how I am. Why have an extra-long conversation when I can just say “I’m good,” and the conversation is cut in half.

We no longer give exciting news with a phone call so that the other person can hear our excitement and share in that joy and you can hear their excitement for you. Now, we send whatsapps with millions of different emoticons expressing our excitement. When was the last time you phoned someone on their birthday as opposed to leaving a facebook message on their wall? And do they read every single message or just “like it” because it’s quick and easy. Yes, I understand that it’s cheaper and more convenient to use social media. And that’s exactly why we should not be using it when we want to continue building close friendships. It’s like being in a relationship – the person appreciates it when more effort is made as opposed to the quick and easy options taken.

Then there’s this idea of carrying my phone everywhere. I used to do this because I lived on my own for years and it would stop everyone else from worrying if I was always contactable but now it’s become a terrible habit. If I do not have my phone with me I feel like I am missing out. Yes, missing out on what’s going on with my phone. Have you ever?

Think about it – if you receive a message on your phone it’s not going to disappear if you look at it 6 hours later. If you missed a phone call you can always call back. Keeping it around “in case” something urgent or an emergency happens just does not seem that important any more. How many times over the last year have you received news on your phone that was so urgent it could not have waited? And I am not talking about work. That’s a different subject on its own. I am talking about when we are around family, friends or even when we are on our own out and about. I have become a PH.O.M.O. where missing out on what’s going on with my phone has become more important than missing out on the real world.

So how do I change it?

Well if I don’t immediately respond to any messages just know that I am taking a step in the right direction and it’s nothing personal:)

5 thoughts on “PH.O.M.O.

  1. Thembeka Ndlangamandla says

    Oh this is just me… like always on my phone its bad…spending a lot of time alone also causes this “antisocial” behaviour. sheeeeeesh


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