“Can I borrow your phone?”
The very sound of this question incites a fear in the deepest recesses of our hearts. We are immediately suspicious, confused and vulnerable all at the same time. Why? We certainly didn’t have that reaction years ago when someone in our home would ask to use the land line.
Now, we reluctantly hand over our mobile device (after unlocking it with our secure password) and think, “Fine. Just make your call and don’t read my text messages and do not look at my photos!” We watch even our most trusted friends as they place a phone call, our eyes fixed on them. “Come on,” we think, “just hang up and hand it over.” And then, what’s the first thing we do when we get our prized possession back? We wipe it off. If we still had that can of cootie spray from third grade, we’d probably use that, too.
So, why is our behavior so bizarre when it comes to our phones? Why do we feel so vulnerable, even violated when that simple device is out of our immediate control? The simple answer is this: Our smart phone is the single most personal possession we own.
Think about it. These sleek and snazzy mobile devices are hardly just telephones. We use them for so much more than making a call to order a pizza or to chat with Mom. We use them in every aspect of our lives. That small device is the center of our communication and interaction with the world. We use it to talk, text and email with the people we love. We carry pictures of our children, parents, nieces and nephews and pets. Our entire music collection and many of our video favorites are on or accessible instantly from our smart phones. The brands to which we are most loyal live on our devices in the form of apps.
From banking to social media to restaurant reservations to travel plans, it’s all right there in one place, easily accessible, at our beck and call. Siri is more than a personal assistant; she’s a trusted adviser. We do math and get directions, we work and we play using this one device.
The smart phone has changed life as we knew it and, with 55% market share over feature phones (according to Nielsen), will continue to change life. I believe this change is for the better. The smart phone makes life easier. It only makes life more difficult if we let it.
Before smart phones, I couldn’t have seen a photo of my nephew only hours after birth. That alone is value enough for me.