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Opinion Editorials

Phones are the new cigarettes- minus the tobacco, nicotine and death things

(EDITORIAL) The antithesis to one man’s argument that smartphones are like cigarettes, because its a load of nope.

smishing apple iphone manson influencer

Technology – threat or menace?

Because we totally haven’t had enough articles like that already. Doubtless yet another musing on how unfeeling machines conquer our lives, steal our souls and generally contaminate everyone’s precious bodily fluids would be in everyone’s interest, not a topic raised so utterly ad nauseam doctors have taken to prescribing think pieces instead of ipecac.

There really needs to be a sarcasm font.

The newest member of the anti-phone club

Mark Manson presents this unprecedented view in a recent, slightly shouty article over at his blog.

There are some decent points there, if I’m honest.

Smartphones, portable tech and the culture of instant communication absolutely divide up our focus, and I’m willing to grant that quality may come at the expense of living in the moment.

So the Hades what?

“Living in the moment” sounds rad until you actually do it for two minutes. Life is not an endless parade of kitesurfing, Channel boating and rides in hot air balloons. I mean, I assume. Mine isn’t. If yours is, wow – thanks for dropping by, Mr. Branson!

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The rest of us have to work, often quite a lot.

Me, I wait in line. I wait in traffic. I work with people who don’t get back to me immediately, because they have work and lives of their own. Throughout, I have several jobs, all of which I manage myself.

I live off my phone, because my options are multitask or bankruptcy.

I do plenty of fun stuff too, at which point I holster the phone. Go figure. That system works for me.

It’s “works for me” that takes Mr. Manson’s article from “a bit silly” to “wrong in a bad way.” His catchy line is “smartphones are the new cigarettes,” cutting into other people’s attention span like secondhand smoke cuts into other people’s lungs. To get the obvious out of the way, no. The only way another person’s smartphone can hurt you is if you swallow it, and I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s on you.

Bigger deal?

Brains work differently. I was a multi-tasker when they called it “ADHD.” When you’re that kind of multi-tasker, you learn something: your brain is your business. Other people will think and work differently, and neither of you is wrong.

Behavior follows cognition, not vice versa.

In the article, Mr. Manson is at the gym he attends fitness classes at. The cognitive habits of Mr. Manson’s gym non-buddies had them on their phones during breaks. Their coach yelled at them about it, but it was one of those boot camp get-in-shape things. The coach yelling is part of the service.

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Mr. Manson yelling was not.

That was all him. His cognitive habits led him to berate a woman he didn’t know for something that had nothing to do with him and only mattered to him because he let it. If checking your texts is “secondhand smoke” but accosting people at random is healthy, show me to the cigar bar, please.

MYOB (Mind Your Own Business)

I’m for the radical notion that what other people do is their business, and your brain is yours. Losing your shizz because a stranger dared to use her possessions in your presence is, to me, a sign that the problem is probably you.

I’m biased, though. I wrote this on my phone.


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Written By

Matt Salter is a writer and former fundraising and communications officer for nonprofit organizations, including Volunteers of America and PICO National Network. He’s excited to put his knowledge of fundraising, marketing, and all things digital to work for your reading enjoyment. When not writing about himself in the third person, Matt enjoys horror movies and tabletop gaming, and can usually be found somewhere in the DFW Metroplex with WiFi and a good all-day breakfast.

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