I hate cell phones. Yes, I acknowledge they’re practically a necessity today. If nothing else, I’m expected to have one. And to answer it. And therein lies problem No. 1 …
1. They only ring when it’s inconvenient to answer
My cell phone only rings three times: when I’m busy working, when I’m carrying something heavy, or when I’m eating. This it does with predictability. Thus, I’m giving up hard work, carrying things and eating altogether to avoid unwanted calls. Cell phones zap productivity.
2. They keep me connected
Sometimes I don’t want to be able to be reached by anyone, anywhere, any time. Like when my fiancée calls. All the time. Just to tell me she made $10 on a Facebook rummage sale. It’s bad enough when I have to field calls when I’m playing guitar in my basement (and that originate from the kitchen directly overhead). And if I don’t answer? I’m accused of screening my calls (which I never do, since waiting for the robot voice message operator to tell me how many messages I have and exactly when they were sent just so I can delete them takes roughly an Ice Age). I can only imagine what it’s like for people with more important things to do, like a mob hit man:
Johnny The Gun: Hello?
Wife: What are you doing?
Johnny: I’m in the middle of dunking a guy in a deep fryer. Is this important?
Wife: I thought you’d be home when I got off work.
Johnny: I’m working, too. This hit’s worth seven G’s.
Wife: I sold the flower pot for $10 today.
Johnny: What? OK, nice, gotta go.
Wife: Pick up some eggs on your way home.
Johnny: I’m covered in blood, and the cops are chasing me.
Wife: Go to the drive-thru.
I honestly despise text messaging. Why? Because people have entire conversations via text messaging; conversations that could have taken 30 seconds on the phone now span more than 30 minutes. It’s even worse when my younger brother answers my text, but categorically refuses to answer my call placed 10 seconds later.
4. Everyone is on their cell phone, all the time
My family gets together for dinner at my parents weekly, and after we eat we generally hang out on their large porch and talk. We used to talk to each other, which was good, but now we talk – or, more often – text to our friends. The other day I looked around and saw my brother, his wife, my fiancee and even my dad all on their cell phones at once. What’s the point to getting together in person when all you’re going to do is talk to someone else? And shouldn’t it be considered rude to answer a cell phone when someone else is talking to you? Can’t it wait, at least until your thumbs build up enough energy to text again?
And don’t even get me started on those people who talk on on their phones and refuse to excuse themselves from the restaurant … then talk so loud they probably don’t even need the phone for the person they’re calling to hear them.
5. All this for $120/month
Yes, I get all of these great features on my cell phone for about $120/month. Paying almost $1,500/year to lose productivity at work (ergo money), be annoyed and bothered when I’m busy doing something I enjoy, being ignored by friends and family in favor of other people who have not taken the time to meet with them, and spending half an hour texting a conversation that could be completed in 30 seconds, salutations included, is awesome.
What does all this have to do with design and marketing? I think it’s interesting to note how disconnected we are in a world that is marketed as being more connected.