10 Reasons Why A Basic Phone Is Replacing My Smartphone

It is true, I purchased a basic phone, and my smartphone is being transferred to my bookbag.  But why?  Before I answer this question, let me say that I have owned a cell phone since 1999.  I have owned 12 different cell phones (basic and smart).  Furthermore, I am no stranger to social media.  I have been on five social media platforms for the last ten years, with over 13,000 friends and followers.  Finally, I am also no stranger to electronics.  In our house, we have computers, tablets, smart thermostats, LED televisions, Wi-Fi security cameras, and so forth.  That is to say; the decision to bench my smartphone was not made naively or curmudgeonly.  (Ok… maybe it was made with a little bit of a curmudgeon spirit.  Nonetheless, I believe the logic underneath the grimness is not na├»ve or rash.) 

Now, on to answering the question of why I moved to a basic phone.  Here are 10 Theses. 

Thesis 1: Less Is Better

Too many communication venues do not make one a better communicator; they make one less effective at communicating well.  

Since a basic phone only allows communication through phone conversations and very limited texting, communication is streamlined to primarily phone calls.  With fewer venues to communicate, there are fewer venues for communication to get lost or overlooked.  (i.e., having 4-6 apps that include texting capabilities can be cumbersome to manage.)

Thesis 2:  Verbal Is Better Than Text Only

Since 93% of communication is nonverbal, only 7% of communication can be transmitted through texts.  However, verbal phone calls increase communication by 38% to allow vocal elements to add to communication; vocal features such as volume, rise and fall of the pitch, speed, and how the words are spoken. 

Having a basic T9 phone makes it virtually impossible to text regularly, which forces one to communicate through a phone conversation.  And as previously stated, phone conversations are better than mere text communications concerning effective communication.  

Thesis 3: Social Media Is Not Reality But A Supplement To Reality

Social media on smartphones is useful in supplementing existing relationships, but it cannot take the place of in-person human connections.  One cannot share a drink with a friend, give a hug to a grieving person, or laugh together through a smartphone in the way this occurs in flesh-and-blood interactions. 

Furthermore, since social media records real events and posts them online, most social media interactions occur ‘after’ the actual event has taken place.  Therefore, human interaction does not occur face-to-face, but through a plastic 3-inch screen, often after a human interaction has occurred. 

Thesis 4: Smartphones Reduce Efficiency

In projects that require electronics, a person is much more effective typing on a keyboard, in front of multiple computer monitors, while sitting uninterrupted at a desk than trying to conduct business on a smartphone while cooking dinner in a family kitchen.  A basic phone creates higher efficiency by forcing work to be done at a desk during uninterrupted work time. 

Efficiency is also higher with a basic phone because –on average – we speak 125 words per minute, type 35 words a minute on a keyboard, and text 25 words a minute on a smartphone. Talking on a basic phone is five times more efficient than texting on a smartphone, and - as previously noted - it is more effective in communicating than texting only. 

Thesis 5:  Smartphones Are Addictive

Much research has gone into the addictive aspects of smartphones.  Furthermore, the goal of marketers who monetize social media platforms on smartphones is to keep the user on the smartphone as much as possible.  Thus, more time on social media platforms equals greater exposure to ads – more significant exposure to ads equals higher profit for the platform.   If a product is free, then the one using it is the product.  (e.g., as one who has a marketing degree, the goal of marketing is to influence customers to act in a certain way that increases sales, brand loyalty, and repeat buys for the particular company that is being marketed.  The less use of a smartphone, the less one is ‘marketed’ to.)

Thesis 6: Smartphones Intrude On The Vocation of Family

To be human is to interact with friends and family using all five senses.  Therefore, because smartphones can be addictive and used for work, it is very tempting for smartphones to intrude upon vocational duties within the family.  A father can ignore a cuddle to read a book with his daughter due to a social media conversation/debate with persons that he has never met in-person.  To be distracted away from a family member by a text or social media conversation (with people one has never met in person) is problematic, to say the least.   

Thesis 7:  Social Media On Smartphones Can Create Alternative Realities

Since individuals only post the ‘good times’ on social media, alternative realities are often fabricated in the minds of others.  Life does not consist of mountain tops only; there are valleys in between.  When is the last time you have witnessed a post promoting an individual or families’ catastrophic failure?  

Furthermore, smartphones and social media can function as escapes from the real world.  Too often, individuals who are unsatisfied or insecure with their current vocations and situations in life will resort to social media to create new personalities online – with new friends.  The smartphone and social media function as an escape from the reality of life.  (i.e., there is a kind of Platonic movement with smartphones/social media – a shift away from the material world for an abstract electronic world.)  As my son likes to say, “It is almost like the Matrix, Dad!” 

Thesis 8:  Smart Phones Embolden Foolish Behavior

As the Wizard of Oz was emboldened by speaking behind a curtain, smartphones and social media embolden people to say things that they would never do face-to-face in person.  The harshest interactions that I have ever experienced in life have been through texting and social media.  The majority of the harsh conversations would never have happened in face-to-face interactions. 

Thesis 9:  Smart Phones Eliminate The Need For Contemplative Thinking

Radio and books are slow.  Texting, Apps, and Social Media are fast.  When things are fast, one has to think quickly.  When things are slow, one is permitted the opportunity to think slowly – to contemplate and formulate.  For example, in writing a letter through the mail, one is permitted to choose words carefully after giving considerable thought – to craft a letter with eloquence, “Thank you for your kind letter.  I deeply appreciate your thoughts and will ponder them for the next week.  Sincerely….    In other words, there is not an expectation for an immediate reply, as is the case with texting, “Hey   Yes   Talk 2 U latter  LOL”  To the point, many things in life cannot be thought about quickly.  Many things need time, contemplation, and consideration.  Furthermore, a short Tweet or text is inadequate to properly communicate on the majority of complicated subjects in the world.

Thesis 10: Basic Phones Are More Cost-Effective

Basic phones are 1/10 the cost of smartphones.  They do not need damage insurance, and costly screen protectors, cases.  Furthermore, because basic phones only need to be charged once or twice a week, there is no need for the cost of multiple charging stations and an abundance of charging cords at home, work, and in the car.  


So, what does all this mean?  It means that my smartphone is not in the trash but is going in my bookbag to function as an iPad tablet.  When I need the smartphone, it can be taken out of the book bag to adjust things like the house thermostat or take a picture of my children.  That is to say; I can turn the smartphone on to check my calendar, I can connect to the Wi-Fi when I want to watch Netflix or check social media.  But because my main phone is now a basic phone, the smartphone will be turned off and returned to the book bag when I am not using it. 

The end goal of this shift is ultimately to increase effective/authentic communication, increase productivity, improve quality time in my vocations (e.g., as a dad, husband, and pastor),  to have less marketing in my life, to think slower, and to always be connected to the reality before me – family, friends, city, and parish.


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