I don't have an iPhone and you can't make me buy one.

I am a professional social media web nerd person.  I literally get paid to Facebook.

I don’t own an iPhone.  I don’t own an Android phone.  Don’t own a Blackberry.  I could tell you the make and model of my mobile device, but I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of it.  It’s pink, rugged, has a protected QWERTY keyboard, and takes reasonably good photos.

I used to have a “smart phone.”  Sadly, it was too smart for me.  Not to mention the data plan it required was outrageously expensive.  For a third the monthly cost, I can check email whenever I want, and I can visit websites that have a mobile-accessible version (which includes all of them I might have an emergency need to visit).   I use SMS a lot more than I did when I had the smart phone, but I also don’t have that vague twitch I was getting every time my phone pinged me with another email.  Sometimes I still twitch when other people’s phones ping them with an email sounder.  There’s just something vaguely B.F. Skinner about that noise…

I could justify an iPhone (or an iPad, or a ‘droid phone) as a business expense if I wanted.   Mobile marketing is part of my purview at work.  But I don’t need it.  If I want to know how something renders on an iPhone, there are three people with them in my department alone at work, plus two ‘droid phones and an iPad.  Besides which, it’s not like there aren’t emulators on the web.

It’s not just that I don’t need it.  I don’t want it, either.  Partly, it’s the whole “feeling like a trained rat” issue.  Partly, it’s because I am at heart a pragmatic person.  I drive a Chevy Tracker–possibly the least sexy ride on Earth.  But it’s got 4 wheel drive, parks easily downtown, and gets reasonable gas mileage for a car that still holds my whole family.

Partly it’s my oddball personality.  Drawn to the rare and unusual, iPhones became automatically undesirable to enneagram Fours the minute just about everyone had one.  So, in other words, about five minutes after they shipped from Apple.

I like the phone I have now.  It’s inexpensive enough that I don’t feel like I’m wasting money.  Using it is simple and enjoyable enough, without becoming a toy that needlessly distracts me with games.  It keeps me accessible and connected enough, without leaving me feeling like the universe’s beck-and-call girl.

I think we fail to stop at enough a little too much, and often end up with too much.

5 Comments


  1. ·

    Until 2 weeks ago, I didn’t have a mobile phone, smart or dumb.

    It shocked people that the social media dude didn’t have a phone, but I really didn’t need it. We have a family cell phone that I took when I had to go out of town, but for the most part, it wasn’t critical. Like you said, I could look at other people’s phones, or use the web to approxomate their experience. Plus, I did have an iPod, and I even managed to make a phone call with it using Skype, which I thought made me really clever.

    But more and more, the smart phone is turning into more than e-mail. It’s about the in-store experience with bar code scanners and mobile social networks like foursquare, and the behavior changes that come from having a computer in our pocket that can filter in all the things we want from the massive repository of content out there.

    So I broke down and got a Nexus One. It’s the Google phone. I still don’t push e-mail to it. But this helps me watch the possible mobile war going on. Apple thinks the future is apps. Google thinks the future is search. Both might be right, or one might be. For now, my Nexus One is the first phone I’ve had for 4 years. I’m epically reachable, and partially concerned.

    But on the weekend when I sat on a panel, my nexus one with voice from google maps got me right to the event with time to spare. 🙂

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  2. ·

    Humbler-than-thou department: My phone doesn’t even do email or simple internet. Actually, it does, but I don’t pay for that plan. And I’m doing OK in life and work.
    .-= paul merrill´s last blog ..Let’s be true, part one =-.

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  3. ·

    Great stuff here Kat…there really must be something in the water we’re drinking recently – we’re very much on the same page here.

    For me the biggest thing is not wanting to have that CONSTANT connection with everything – like you, I “get paid to Facebook” so to speak, I spend my entire work day online, much of my spare time online, I don’t need to be online while I’m out getting drinks with friends, getting my haircut, walking the dog, you name it.

    Having that balance is extremely important to me, and it’s why I have no real desire to upgrade to an IPhone anytime soon…
    .-= Matt Cheuvront´s last blog ..The Last Person Alive Without an IPhone (The Future of Social & Mobile Marketing) =-.

    Reply

  4. ·
  5. Kat
    ·

    Two Matts on one post! That’s extraordinary. 🙂

    Matt H. – I think the “not pushing email” thing is what’s really key to maintaining sanity with these devices. Everyone needs to be able to focus without interruption for periods of time.

    Paul – Good for you! Thanks for dropping in.

    Matt C. – I think burnout from lack of balance is definitely a danger in this career field. In addition to declaring general boundaries on connectivity, I take tech sabbatical weekends pretty often. Getting outdoors helps, too. Nothing sets my brain straight like four or five hours in a kayak.

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