​Late to the Smartphone Party

I was one of the first. In December 2007, when they were still the newest thing imaginable, I bought an iPhone. The classic. The $400 phone whose screen broke within days of purchasing and whose screen was subsequently fixed for a mere $200 more.

I loved it. I loved having access to email while out of the house and I loved being able to take photos on the go. It was my prized possession.

And then, just six months later, we had an unexpected move overseas where smartphones were barely used and internet access only a dream in most places.

For more than four years, I was happy with my basic just-call-and-text phone. I didn’t need fancy. I needed to be able to call my husband and ask him when he was coming home and I needed to be able to text my friends to tell them the import store had Mac & Cheese. Priorities.

Even when we spent a year in the States, I was happy to be without a smart phone. I couldn’t stand watching people everywhere I went glued to their screen. I watched moms on the phone while at the park and husbands scanning their Facebook feed while on a date with their wives. While I love technology and all the benefits it brings, I often wondered how many relationships are hurt because of it. At home, the computer is always a lure. Did I really want something to lure me in when I was out of the house?

And then, just as we were headed back overseas, someone gave me their old smartphone. It was old — an original Galaxy. Although I wasn’t sure of my need and this Mac girl wasn’t sure about an Android product, I gratefully accepted the gift with the thought that it would at least save me $30 on buying a new call-and-text phone.

And now, six months into having a smartphone, here are my thoughts as it relates to memory keeping.

REASONS I LOVE HAVING A SMARTPHONE:

  • Although I do carry my big camera around a lot of places, there are times when being free of the bulk and still able to take photos is a pretty awesome thing. This is especially true on my morning walks and runs when I am greeted with amazing sunrises. I can’t really run with a dSLR slung over my shoulder.
  • Since I don’t often carry around a notebook and pen, many small and ordinary moments that make up my life get forgotten. With a smartphone, I can jot down funny stories and meaningful moments so that the memories won’t succumb to mommy brain.
  • I like that I can keep track of other things like workouts, shopping lists, and pictures of things in stores. They make a fun way to keep track of real life things to scrapbook.
  • I love, love, love having video. I don’t use it much, but when a precious moment opens up in front of me, I am ready.
  • I can be sly. Sometimes, you don’t want the world (or the subject of your photo) to know you are taking a picture. I like being able to take photos without being noticed.
  • Taking pictures of me with my kids. With my big camera, I can’t exactly hold it out and take a photo. But with my phone, I have captured lots of sweet moments with my children.

REASONS I HATE HAVING A SMARTPHONE:

  • This video sums it up nicely.
  • It’s hard to really feel like you are getting away when the emails still come in and the Facebook messages still ding. There is something amazing about being gone for the afternoon — or the week — and not have to worry about anything happening online. It’s a freedom most of us don’t know we crave.
  • Because I always have a camera on me when I go out, I have noticed that I am more likely to leave my good camera home. And while this can be a benefit, I have also found that I am not able to capture a moment like I would really like. Photography, for me, is a way of capturing what my heart sees and my phone really limits my abilities.
  • It’s hard to ignore. When I am out with my husband or kids and I hear that I have a new message or email, it’s really hard to just let it sit in my bag. And yet, I want to be truly present with my family. I can’t stand talking with people and having them pick up their phone and text while nodding and pretending to hear what I have to say. Why would I want to do it to my family?
  • Memories are stored in the heart, not on a phone. I wonder if I actually miss moments in my attempt to capture them.

So yea, I’m late to the smartphone party. And the jury is still out on how I feel about it.


What about you? How has having a smartphone helped or hurt your memory keeping?

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