In this week’s Enough, Patrick, Myke and Dave Caolo talk about the recent trend among bloggers to give up their smartphones, and the notion of the always-on data collection as a kind of happiness drug.
I keep thinking about taking the same step. I work every day with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus on a $30 month-to-month T-Mobile plan that offers me ample voice and texting, but a tiny amount of data that I use basically for emergency purposes only. And I’ve thought about the alternatives on both extremes: upgrading to an iPhone with a full data plan, and downgrading to a dumb phone and perhaps saving some money on the phone bill.
Here’s why, though, this is the perfect middle ground for me: all the data that gets synced to my phone on WiFi - my podcasts, my Instapaper feeds, my pictures, my music - these are all idea-rich, important parts of my life that it’s great to have always in my pocket. All the data that gets synced from my phone on WiFi - the pictures I take, the edits I make to my notes, etc. - that’s all stuff that makes me more productive or lets me connect with someone I couldn’t connect with without this technology. The constant updates and refreshing? That for me is the barrier to being in the moment. The other stuff, the content? That’s what makes sitting on the bus a richer experience than it would be otherwise. That’s the stuff I use technology for.
So I’ll do my best, for now, to manage with the midrange phone in my pocket and manage myself to make sure I use it at the right times.
See also: Patrick’s awesome post on why you might want to put your phone on Airplane mode, advice I try to take at least once a day.