by Andy Angstadt
Four months ago I was plagued with the grim misfortune of losing my iPhone. This is a catastrophe every millennial fears. The phone was dead so the Find My iPhone app was rendered useless. I retraced my steps and searched the city but alas, I was forced to face the fact my phone had fallen victim to the Friday celebrations of my mid-twenty self reveling in late night libations. Due to only purchasing the minimum insurance and still owing money on the abandoned Apple, I was unable to replace it immediately. Then, before I knew it, days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and now four long months have gone by.
The main reaction I get these days when people discover I have been living phoneless for months is “how the hell do you do it!” Being part of a generation of early adapters to the internet-age, constant connection seems to be the common thread among people of my relative demographic. The most ironic part of all of this is that I run social media accounts for work. So it’s no surprise my recent unplugged lifestyle tends to be a shock. Therefore I’ve decided to answer, “How do you do it?”
How I do it:
- Communication. Facebook messenger has been my main form of contact. I constantly check my computer whenever possible to see if I have messages. Occasionally, I borrow people’s phones to send a quick message or make a call.
- Social Media. My personal accounts have been reduced primarily to Facebook. Being an avid Instagrammer, I live in a constant state of awareness of missed Insta-opportunities. If the phrase “pics or it didn’t happen” is to be taken seriously, then I have done almost absolutely nothing for almost a third of 2015.
- Managing Social Media Accounts. This has been challenging, yet not impossible. Scheduling has been key here: being aware of current promotions and campaigns, then establishing strategic schedules around that. Responding to consumers is a team effort, which makes engagement manageable.
- Directions. I am historically awful at directions. Now I have been forced to thoroughly understand St. Petersburg’s grid system. If I know I am going somewhere I won’t know how to get to, I literally Google map it, print out the directions and check my map en-route like some sort of modern day metropolitan explorer.
- Making Plans. This has also been a struggle. I use to just walk around with the key to my friend list right in my pocket. Making plans was in the moment and only a click or swipe away. In the No Phone Zone however, my plans are made in advance. If there is a meet-up area, I have to carefully estimate the time it will take to get there and then the party I am meeting just has to trust that I’ll show up.
- Day-to-Day Knowledge. I’ve discovered probably the strangest feeling in all of this is that I do not know everything all the time. With a smartphone, literally any thought that pops into my head I have the ability to find an answer. In conversation, if all parties present disagree on a topic, it’s second nature to whip out your cellular of choice and search it right then and there. I now have to rely on my knowledge and experiences or web browsing from an hour ago when I was by a computer. If things come up throughout the day I have to write them down and/or remember to look it up later. By the way, does anybody know the time?
My point is that it’s been challenging, especially since I’ve had a smartphone for years doing a lot of heavy lifting even in areas I was generally unaware. However, all things considered, it wasn’t the end of my world. I’ve learned that surviving without my iPhone is possible, I just have to think different.