Tips for using your cellphone

A cellphone

Congratulations on your purchase of a new cellphone! While this tiny rectangle of metal and glass may not look like much, you will soon find yourself drawn into its world  —  inexorably. So as not to become one of those zombie cellphone users you see around you, crashing their cars, walking off cliffs, and ruining friendships, we have some tips for you. What’s that? This is your 10th cellphone purchase? Well pay attention, sonny boy, you might learn something too.

Like all technologies, cellphones are neither good nor evil. It is how they are used that matters. True, there are certain technologies, like nuclear weapons and cellphones, for which finding good uses is a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless we will try.

  • Waste time more efficiently
    You’re stuck in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Go ahead and use your cellphone. It’s got to be better than that tattered June 2010 edition of People Magazine.
  • Read good stuff
    Millions of books, articles, online courses, and other good stuff are available to read via your cellphone. Use it to learn. Avoid mindless social media and amateur videos. If you’re going to walk off a cliff, do it while reading Tolstoy instead of while perusing cat videos.
  • Push vs Pull
    Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone was the first disrupting — no, interrupting — technology created (thank you very much!), and the cellphone is a much more malignant interrupter. Not only is it already a telephone, liable to go off at any moment — and unlike an old-fashioned telephone you can’t go outside to escape it — but it will also cheerfully beep or ping or vibrate incessantly with so-called “push notifications.” You need to set limits. Who’s the boss here: you or the cellphone? Do you really need to be alerted to the astounding fact that so-and-so, someone you’ve forgotten about, has finally tweeted something after not tweeting for a long time? Push notifications are usually on by default, and need to be turned off for each app, which is a pain. Nevertheless it is worth the effort to do so. Short of North Korea declaring war on the US, these notifications can wait until you decide you want to check them.
  • Don’t be rude, there are other people out there
    Long ago, at the dawn of the cellphone age, I saw a woman at the train station seemingly talking to herself in the middle of a crowd of people. I thought she was schizophrenic, talking to an imaginery person. Now such a sight is common, and people share their end of a private conversation with abandon in the midst of a crowd of perfect strangers via their cellphone plus or minus some bluetooth accessory. Don’t do this.
  • Put it away
    Two people at a restaurant. Man and woman. A lovely couple. Ignoring each other while fully mesmerized by their cellphones. This scene is repeated everywhere thousands of times a day. Why? Even if the other person is more boring than a cat video, can’t you at least pretend to be a human being who still is interested in others of your species?

It is hoped that by following the guidelines above, you will remain a sane and productive cellphone user.

About mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.

One thought on “Tips for using your cellphone

  1. Seriously folks. At a concert? Put your dang cellphone away and enjoy the actual experience rather than disrupt everyone else experience by filming it with your bright little screen so you can watch what you might have experienced later. I know you want to post it to your Facebook page but you are missing out on actual reality for the sake of virtual reality. I was recently in Venice where the gondoliers are upset because the tourists are spending the whole gondola ride looking at their phones instead of Venice. Wake up!!! Use your phones when you are not engaged in actual life. Just saying.

Leave a Reply