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Smart Phones, Stupid People

Professor Green column: On Phone Addiction

Professor Green

Stephen Manderson's new column is about the mad world of the smart phones where everything from food to sex is at the touch of the screen in our hands. No wonder we're all addicted...but still - 10 HOURS on Instagram, Stephen?

At what point does something designed to make life easier become a hindrance?

I should probably start by confessing I’m writing this article on my phone while in the bath. Don’t let my nakedness make you feel awkward, there’s plenty of bubbles covering my modesty.

It’s the same phone I use for pretty much everything.

I use it to fact check, to navigate, to research, to stay up to date on news, to slide into DMs (they generally have blue ticks but yeah, I slide), to Insta-stalk to help build a picture of someone (but while doing so end up accidentally liking a pic that’s two years old, then have to unlike and pray they have notifications switched off), to message via any number of mediums (iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegraph… ), to order food when I’m hungover or too lazy to cook (that’s if I even have ingredients in the fridge), to order the booze that’s responsible for the hangover once the local off license is closed, to put a call in for anything one might want after booze, to pull up Jamie Oliver’s bolognese recipe if I do happen to have ingredients in the fridge, to PornHub, to catch up on Kanye’s latest outburst via Twitter, to transfer money, to work out when might be a good time to message that ex you still have a bit of a thing for based on when she last posted a pic with the bf and if they’re still following one another, and to proof-read my latest column for The Book of Man for a last time once it’s online just in case (normally finding one mistake – sorry Martin).

This device means I can do literally anything quicker, which surely free’s up time to do more… something. It gives us more time for the important things like… but here I am still scrolling/trolling.

What about the the weird Inception-like scenario, where I’m here, with you, and we’re both posting pictures of each other and then liking each other’s pics. Or pictures of each other’s food that we could taste and discuss, but instead we feel the need to share. To over share. To add another picture to the image we project of our completely unsustainable lifestyle to our highlight-reel. Or, more accurately, our highlight unReal.

It’s probably worth pointing out that I use navigation for journeys I’ve done enough times to remember, that I’ve cooked so many different bolognese recipes I should have one of my own that I don’t need to question quantities for, and have had enough people quote inaccuracies they’ve researched at the last minute before interviewing me to know Wikipedia probably isn’t the best place to check facts.

Nor is Twitter the best place to bleed your heart out. Nor is Instagram the best place to go looking for validation. Both huge platforms for those with a far reach and huge audiences, but what do popular people mostly use these platforms for?

< insert selfie >

< insert caption which has nothing to do with selfie and everything to do with being bored and increasingly self obsessed >

If you want to scare yourself into an early grave and you have an iPhone, click on settings / battery / 7 days / clock to find out how long you’ve been using what apps, mine are below:

 

Professor Green phone

 

Ten hours of my last week was spent on Instagram. TEN HOURS. Ten point six to be exact, with only 23 minutes of that spent in the background. In just an hour’s scrolling we could probably take in more imagery than someone would have in their whole lives at a point not so long ago. But what use is all of this information? What do we do with it?

I could use the excuse that I have to maintain my presence on social media for work – which is true at times, but I know people with less followers who sell more records and people with more followers who sell less, which is surely proof that it is somewhat a false commodity?

What about likes though – what would my existence be without Susie in Skegness and Roger in Ruislip liking every narcissistic and vain picture I post every day to make me feel some sense of validation and, more scarily, self worth. WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO IF I START LOSING FOLLOWERS AND MY GRAM AIN’T POPPING?! How can I parade myself as a model, social figure or influencer if I don’t have proof of the people I model for, am social with or do influence?!

Less we forget for all of the filters there are, there’s one missing: Mine. Yours. Freedom of speech in its worst manifestation. Largely unmoderated forums at your finger tips! Perfect for when you’re having a bad day and see something you’d rather not. Perfect.

And why, when I have all of this brilliant, free and easy to access information, do I end up looking at cats that are scared of cucumbers?

At what point does something designed to make life easier become a hindrance?

Possibly at our misuse…

 

Read all Professor Green’s previous columns

Illustration by Berta Vallo.

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