Quitting smoking (or day 3 without my iPhone)

Q

About 3 weeks ago I dropped my iPhone. The screen cracked, but it still worked and I bought it at Best Buy for their $15 a month protection plan that allows you to get a new one if anything happens to it. (Other than submersion; which I don’t get. An accident is an accident.) I took it in to get it replaced and it was back-ordered. So I held on to it until they had some in stock. I finally turned it in three days ago and I have to tell you that my behavior “in the wild” has been noticeably impacted.

If you read this post you’ll see that I love my iPhone and have injected it into my life.

The first thing I noticed was that I check email, Twitter, Instagram, iFOUND and LinkedIn WAY more than I thought possible. When I first wake up. At stoplights. While driving down the highway going 95 mph. You know . . . those little slices of free time. I didn’t feel so much disconnected as I felt, like I had a lot to check once I was in front of my laptop.

I also resorted to creating a handwritten list of things to do: like the old days. Felt very prehistoric.

Today, I realized how much I use my phone to preserve the moment. (I was NEVER a video camera/camera dad but with iPhone in hand, it was hard to miss an opportunity. I’d shoot and then upload it to Flickr.) I took my kids to the museum and in the past when I’ve done this I get some real usage out of my phone. Today, my son found the station with the huge fan that blows the light scarfs up to the ceiling and was having a great playing with them. A moment I would have captured with video or photo if I’d had my iPhone. (Yes. I’m familiar with the argument of being in the moment vs. recording the moment.) I was also unable to text my wife to let her know we had made it or forward her a picture of them playing at the museum. In a way it felt like I was on a long hike and could not contact someone if I needed to.

Yesterday was also strange because I went for my Saturday morning ride and was unable to check-in on Foursquare at key landmarks along the way. (I do this for points and to let the wife-unit know where I am along the route.) I also missed the chance to take a really cool picture with Instagram of a young man whose bumper was a snowboard. (The car had been hit and the bumper lost so he replaced it with a snowboard. I love Colorado!)

I’m officially going through withdrawals but it also shed light on how my behavior has evolved with the tools that I now have compared to the tools I used to have. I now look to the device to enhance and share experiences I’m having. I reread this post and I still do many of the same things, I’ve just added some behaviors and use it less as a distraction. I guess it’s not the surprising I just hadn’t thought about it until now.

I’ve never smoked but I’m starting to get a sense of how hard it must be to quit. My friend, who used to smoke, said that smoking was something he did at specific times. With a cup of coffee. After a good meal. While trying to look tough, etc. I use my iPhone in a similar way.  Not sure mine’s a physical addiction as much as it’s a psychological one, but it does sting. Supposed to get my replacement phone this week. I hope so. Starting to get the shakes!

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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