The remark caught me a little off guard.
My phone was nearly dead, and my friend had made a comment to the effect that it must be very difficult for someone like me to be disconnected from my smart phone.
It’s true – no argument at all here. But there’s more to it than a quick glance allows and I can’t help but want to go beneath that top layer for a moment or two.
Yes, I am very attached to my smart phone. Some of the purposes it serves for me: carrier of my daily “to do” list (without which I would not be able to function), watch (I no longer wear one; this fits the bill), camera (it’s very easy to be inconspicuous with a phone camera, and I love that feature), email, bank balance keeper and a way to stay in touch with my family through texts, to name just a few.
But as a freelance writer, I find it goes even deeper. In that capacity, I see my smart phone not as something optional but a tool that has become vital. I’ve definitely weighed many times whether this is a want or need, and no matter how I look at it, it seems clearly something that is necessary for me to work efficiently.
I realize many people in the world do not own a smart phone, nor would one be necessary given their daily objectives. But for me, the necessity is two-fold when it comes to my work needs.
First, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on deadline or close, and my smart phone has saved me. A last-minute, necessary change is communicated and handled due solely to my phone’s abilities, proving it’s definitely more than a fun device (I have yet to play a game on my phone). In many ways, my smart phone is a mini-computer I can hold in my hand and take with me everywhere I go. There are limitations, but in a pinch it’s invaluable.
The second thing might not seem as pertinent, but to me is every bit as crucial; that is, social media is the freelance writer’s water cooler, and my smart phone has the capacity to let me stay current with it.
Still not convinced? Come in a little further.
Unless it’s summertime, and if you’re not counting pets, I spend most of my workday alone. Which means, I don’t have a water cooler to go to when I need a brain pause.
Social media gives me the ability to have some friendly interaction right where I sit, maybe share something I find valuable, giggle at a joke, whatever. These are generally short bursts but something everyone needs at some point in the day. Keep in mind, again, I have no teacher’s lounge, no conference room, no communal spot of any kind to enjoy a quick debriefing. So when I need that little break, it’s easiest to just flit over to Facebook and hang with my pals there for a bit. It feels very productive to me and an efficient use of the little time I do have.
So yes, I am rather attached to my smart phone, especially when away from my laptop. Those are the two main tools I need each day to get the job done. Not all occupations require these tools, but mine does. To honor this, I even use a portion of my monthly phone bill as a tax write-off.
I have a feeling a lot of writers will relate, though perhaps some won’t. But this works for me.
Thinking on these things has reminded me how quick we are to make assumptions about others, and I’m just as guilty. It’s important to remember that oftentimes we simply don’t have all the information. My hope is that through sharing a little more of my situation, others can peek into my world long enough to better understand, and maybe even appreciate, why I do what I do.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m feeling a little thirsty about now. See you at the “water cooler!”