Posted by: Jess Scheve | March 10, 2011

Pros and Cons of Owning a Smart Phone

After years of being stuck in web 1.0 I finally made a giant leap into the new era. I traded my antiquated, no frills “dumb phone” for a smart phone.

Jessica's old phone

My old "dumb" phone

So why did it take me so long to make the switch?  Well, believe it or not, the idea of being connected all the time was actually not appealing to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my new phone. Not only is it extremely convenient to have all of that information at my fingertips, but the technology is really cool as well. I’m also happy that I’ll no longer have to hear subtle coughs with the word “QWERTY” when I compose a text message.

There are actually several reasons why I was reluctant to join the mobile revolution. This led me to think about the pros and cons of owning a smart phone. I’ve outlined some below in case you need some help deciding whether or not owning one is right for you.

CONS

Constant Distraction. As if social networking sites weren’t enough of a distraction, now we can take them wherever we go! On several occasions I’ve had some people almost run into me because they were so engrossed in their phone. Smart phones are shrinking our attention spans.

Taking work home. If computers and e-mail weren’t enough of an excuse for you to be on the clock 24/7 then mobile devices sure are. You can take work with you wherever you go. Now there’s absolutely no excuse not to do work. Smartphones make it that much more difficult to leave work at work. You know what they say: “all work and no play…”

Addiction. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself checking Facebook several times a day. Even worse is when I plan on quickly checking updates and wind up perusing people’s photos and statuses. It’s not that I intend to spend hours of my day on social networking sites, but one thing leads to another and before I realize it an hour or two has gone by.

Impatience. If you don’t think that the latest, greatest technology causes impatience I want you to stop and think of two words: dial up. Just think of how impatient you get waiting…gasp…30 seconds for a video to load. Okay maybe your not guilty of this, but I am not afraid to admit that I am. We’re so used to getting everything that we want instantaneously that when we have to wait a little bit it gets irritating.

PROS

Instant information. If you’re anything like me, you feel the need to Google anything and everything. Who was that actor in the movie we were watching the other day? Google. What is the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet? Google. Why does Charlie Sheen like the word #winning so much….you get the picture. 

Real-time conversations. Yes social networking means keeping up with your friends and family more easily. But think of the implications it has for you as a public relations practitioner. You can monitor what’s being said about your organization at virtually any time; so if a story breaks, you’re on top of it. If you think sites like Twitter and Facebook are just a “fad,” then you may want to look into some infographics on social media.

Convenience. Remember the pre-mobile days? Or even the pre-internet days? Pay phones, phone books, paper maps, paper books, word-of-mouth, encyclopedias…the list could go on and on. Now all of those tools are in our mobile devices. We have the ability to look up restaurants, movies, etc. when we’re out and about. It makes life a lot easier.

Technological Smarts. Mobile apps are where it’s at. The biggest reason for my decision to get a smart phone is because I simply don’t want to get behind. The longer you wait to familiarize yourself with new technology the more behind you seem to get. With the quick pace at which technology moves a new system could be released before you even understand the old one. If PR practitioners want to be able to understand the stakeholders they serve, then they have to be familiar with the technology that’s being used.  Don’t believe that use of mobile web is significant? Check out some  smart phone usage statistics.

Jessica's new smart phone with the text "IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!" on the screen.

Hello Web 2.0!

So if I don’t like the idea of being connected all of the time then why did I get a smart phone? One word: necessity. I know it sounds crazy to say that I actually need a smart phone but I felt that with all the mobile applications and social media platforms like Foursquare out there if I didn’t get involved I’d get behind and could potentially miss out on opportunities.

Did anyone else out there get a smart phone because they felt they “had” to have one for the sake of their career? Or am I just one of the last people to jump on the bandwagon?

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Responses

  1. I’ve had my smart phone for a year! Couldn’t go without it. When the iPad 2 came out last month, I hesitated. However the s.o. Won out when he said “you’ll use it for work” OMG— it’s totally awesome… And he got a first generation model for $100 off. Now I’ve just gotta start blogging like my Way-Cool niece…

    • Hmmm…”U.R.” I wonder who that could be? I must admit, despite my reluctance, I’m really starting to enjoy my Droid. I think blogging could be very effective in your field. If you need help getting started let me know!

  2. Hi Jess, I’m late too! I was given a smart phone. (didn’t ask for it or even want it, my ipod does alot of the same stuff) I would just about kill for my dumb phone right about now. My name for my new phone is “stupid smart phone”! I fortunately am not too addicted to using my phone for stuff. Too difficult! :-)

    • It really is a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Thank you for the feedback Sandy!

  3. Thanks Ellen! I know exactly what you mean. I finally had to turn the e-mail notification off (at least for now) because I too found myself constantly checking my e-mail. My inbox was never clearer though, lol. I’m still learning about everything that the phone can do so I imagine it will only get worse with time!

  4. This comment is a bit late, but I just read this post and I must say I loved it! I definitely see how important smartphones can be for professionals– though I agree that it unfortunately makes it so that work time is pretty much all the time. I know in the few months I’ve had my iPhone, I’ve developed a pretty severe addiction to checking my email, but it’s just so convenient! At some point, the amount of time we’re spending with our smartphones probably could be detrimental, but the ease of use helps me to justify my addiction to the technology.


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