step 1: smartphone to smartbrain

step one accomplished. i did it. the number one hub that unifies all my digital life in one plastic body: my emails, contact information of everyone i know, my photos, my facebook, my twitter, my foursquare. digital traces of who and where i am. my second brain and my interface to the digital world i have always with me: my smartphone.

i ditched it.

i am a geeky person and i love digital toys, i spend a lot of time online and i actually enjoy exploring the world of information technology and using gadgets that make my life easier and more enjoyable.

…making my life easier – or should i rather say make my life more dependant? when my smartphone’s battery went dead recently (usually after around 10 hours after a full charge) i imagined a situation:

standing in an unknown part of the city at night, looking for a public telephone, not knowing where i am, not knowing how to get home, not even knowing any phone number to call. being lost.

i clearly remember when i was a teenager in the 90s and mobile phones were not so popular yet, i had all the
important phone numbers of my family and friends in my head – i insantly had them at hand when needed. even today i still remember these numbers – but recent phone numbers? i don’t even know my girlfriend’s number or my parents’ mobile
phone numbers. nada.

also i have the impression that my sense of orientation got worse since i started using Google Maps and Navigation on my smartphone. it’s so easy to open the app and instantly know where you are and how to get to where you want to go. no need to think about it – just follow the blue arrow. It’s even worse driving a car from A to B, constantly staring at the navigation system, getting mad when there’s suddenly a construction site blocking the road and no mobile internet connection to find an alternate route. How did people get from A to B before digital navigation systems appeared?

I could go on and on – about my appointment calendar reminding me of everything, about Gmail haunting me with email requests, facebook notifying me of every trivial fart out there in the cloud, about me checking into every damn location on foursquare…
it’s over now! i wiped the data off my HTC Hero, put it back into it’s original box with all the accessories, wrapped it in paper and gave it to my mom for christmas…

she couldn’t believe her eyes about that present – and she seemed surprised and happy – christmas mission accomplished! 🙂

now you might ask: “why did you do that? why? a smartphone makes so many things so much easier, it helps you get your mind free for more important things and it saves you so much time!!!”

it makes my mind free – free of needing to use it for even basic tasks like remembering a phone number or using my creativity and imagination or sense of orientation.

it saves me time – true! but to do what? work more? consume more? spend more time on facebook?
actually ditching my smartphone made me realise that i have much MORE time now – free from social networking, free from apps calling for my attention. free to spend time in the real world.

i am on the way to reclaim my brain.

my smartphone is nixed and now i switched back to a 2007 SonyEricsson model that surprised me with amazing photo functionality (even with flash) and one week of battery life without charging. For the purpose of training and memorising phone numbers i started to use the “anti-smartphone” John’s Phone that doesn’t even have a display or storage for contacts and is incapable of text messaging. For my appointments, contacts, and notes i am using an analog paperback pocket notebook calendar!

and in case of apocalypse – when everything digital will be dead – i will still have my most important information handwritten on paper or even memorised.

3 comments on "step 1: smartphone to smartbrain"

  • Feuerbach says:

    I just now welcome you back to your new smartphone which you will buy in some month.

    It is just a tool. Imagine a cave men throwing away his flint stone, saying: “I better ditch this. If the apokalĂĽze comes, and all my tools get lost, I could not even digest uncooked meat. So I better throw it away now and train my stomache”.

    While there is some truth in the mindset to free yourself as much from dependencies on tools as possible, you can not turn back time. It is all about modest usage and not about complete abstinence which creates its own set of problems.

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