I used to think it is possible.
After my first few Nokia phones, I’ve only ever used a Blackberry, because I saw no need for games or photo editing apps. I was rarely ever on social media and got by barely minimally. I was only ever on Facebook for class updates, and Instagram when my mates shamelessly ask me to like their photos. There were some times when the blue moon appears, and I post dedication pictures, but that was it. I won’t lie and say I don’t understand the addiction to smartphones. Personally, I find it easy to tire of. I only had Whatsapp on my trusty Blackberry, and that was all I needed. I loved the efficiency and convenience of having my messages, via SMS or Whatsapp, and all my emails from different accounts, all in one place.
Alas, it was not to be. Sometime in 2016, Blackberry announced that their phones will not be supporting Whatsapp and Facebook.
I was mildly distraught.
I had a mind to go on using my Blackberry, but I had to think about the other people who might want to contact me through Whatsapp. Before I sound too melodramatic about switching up my phone, I was considering the inconvenience of having to tell my uni mates that no, I don’t have WhatsApp and if there was another (less convenient) way of contacting me for projects.
Sure, I could have lived my life without ever getting a smartphone, but the world doesn’t work around my desires. With everyone using smartphones and the useless apps that come along with it, it’s only a matter of time before everyone in the virtual world has to get one, just for the sake of interconnectedness and convenience.
You could argue that by having the internet on a PC or a laptop, it still keeps you in the loop, and maybe then you could get by with a phone that is all screen and no practicality.
With a bit of research, I find:
Business Insider reveals how on a global scale, the average amount of smartphone owners are a pretty low percentage, especially when compared to single countries like America (72%) or South Korea (88%). The global average is pulled down by developing countries like say, Vietnam (17%) or Pakistan (11%). So technically since it is a relatively small percentage of smartphone users on a global scale, you could get by just fine without one.
But here’s the thing:
You wouldn’t need to contact people in Vietnam, or in Ghana. We use smartphones to contact people (around the world) who are most probably of the same socioeconomic level as you are. Let me keep in mind that when I say that, I mean when people use smartphones as a means of texting, Whatsapp-ing, or Telegram-ing someone else. Smartphones are only needed to keep in touch with those closest to you, or those, like I said, of the same socioeconomic status. Friends. You could say that people use smartphones for work and for corresponding to bosses, but there are still people who make it work the old-fashioned way, with journals and a computer. This is just my opinion, though.
The way I see it, smartphones are really just to keep your friends close. However, having smartphones for convenience of running your business is a whole different angle.
So in a nutshell, it is completely possible to live without a smartphone, but only if you want to be virtually distanced (not isolated, I don’t wish to be that dramatic); and difficult to reach. And the growing ease of communication cultivates laziness (sad but true), so really, if it takes too much to contact someone, is the friendship really worth it?
I am a student in Singapore, and I write freelance to stimulate my brain, and practice wording my perspectives of the world. Find me on Upwork!