The Laws of Smartphone Use

Smart Phone use

It is painful to admit, but there are times when my smartphone has controlled my life. In an effort to be transparent about this, I am writing my own laws of cell phone use. Call them commandments, call them laws, call them guidelines, call them what you will — they are designed to remind me that life is short, and the idea of people eulogizing me as one who is always on their smartphone is terrifying.

So here goes: 

  • I will not check my phone in the morning until I have had coffee and prayers. (Possibly in that order.)
  • When I am at dinner, whether said dinner be at a restaurant or at home, I will put my phone away. I will recognize that everyone I need right then is present.
  • I will turn my phone off when I am in church. Always.
  • I will turn my phone off when I am at a workshop. Always.
  • I will leave my phone at my desk when I am going to a meeting, because I don’t trust myself to use it properly at the meeting.
  • If I have to message someone in front of you, I will tell you exactly why I have to message them at that moment. I will explain why it can’t wait.
  • I will not text while walking. Ever.
  • I will not text while driving. Ever. Ever
  • I will recognize that the moment is always more important than posting a Facebook picture of the moment. I repeat: Always.
  • I will seek to understand that the person who is present is generally a priority over the one who is on the phone. (Except when it’s my mom and my kids.)
  • I will realize that the chance of the phone call or text message I receive being an actual emergency is 1 to 100 or 1 to 1000 (or perhaps less) and I will relax.
  • I will not be rigid and annoying with these rules (except the ones about driving) with other people, because who am I to judge?

Please be gentle with me as I attempt to abide by them. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and sanctification is a process.

What are your laws of cell phone use?

Texting, Emoticons & Miscommunication

“Let’s all eradicate the emoticon” was the challenge in a humorous article put out by CNN Tech the beginning of December.  (Evidently the guy who invented the emoticon did so because on-line computer science groups didn’t recognize humor….now there’s a surprise!)

I couldn’t agree more!  It’s hard enough to limit my words into a reasonable number that can fit into a text message and still be understandable.  Add in emoticons and the words often take on a tone of their own.  I realized that emoticons could grossly misrepresent my emotions in their delivery a couple of years ago.   My husband was away at a conference, I stayed home with the kids and one extra addition – a friend visiting my daughter.

In the middle of the week, sort of at the “Ok – I’ve had enough” point  my husband sent me a text message  saying he was thinking of me and he loved me….I responded with an emoticon and there is where the trouble began.  I did not know that all emoticons are not created equal and that in transmission they could be translated and then interpreted into something I did not mean.  As my two smiley faced, yellow, happy, not a care in the world emoticons made their way through sprint wireless they translated into red devils.

On return it took a while  to sort out what had happened that day – but sort it we did.  We looked back at the messages, both Sent and Received.  There were the culprit emoticons looking completely innocent unaware of the havoc wreaked by their silly little faces.  How could these emoticons have so failed me in transmission and translation?  In the words of “The Economist” don’t they realize “they add life to  (my) telegraphic language of text messages” ? A language that I use daily in communicating to many around me.

I no longer use emoticons as much as I used to.  I can’t afford the potential miscommunication.   :) :(  So let’s eradicate the emoticon and revolutionize the way we communicate, or at least improve it.

If you want to see how European politics look through emoticons take a look at the first article: Emoticon Diplomacy