Hipster New York Health Advice
June 18, 2015 7:01 PM   Subscribe

Living Simply With A Flip Phone

James Hamblin MD is a baby-faced radiologist and editor at The Atlantic. His video series If Our Bodies Could Talk is an amusingly deadpan, stilted, hipsterish exploration of popular physical, mental, and social health trends and topics.

Recent installations:
A Rational Defense of Sleeping Alone
The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus
The Health Benefits of Going Outside
What's This Bone Broth People Are Drinking?
Cryotherapy: The Dubious Appeal of Shooting -260 Degree Nitrogen at Your Naked Skin
posted by aloiv2 (94 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
>holds my flip phone high in solidarity
So, my being a telecom dinosaur is subtly hip now?

Dear lord...at least on my tablet, those Atlantic pages are the absolute worst things I've encountered lately. I can't tell which box is the story, which are ads, which are ads for other stories, etc. etc. Its all just an undifferentiated mess. This is contemporary web design?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:14 PM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Ha! This wasn't as obnoxious as I immediately thought it would be - it was actually quite fun! The disdain over "night pancakes" and his "bed tech" idea were highlights from the first two I watched.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:19 PM on June 18, 2015


I used to have a dumbphone until like a year ago and the only reason I still have it is for directions. I don't understand how people function without that. It's fine to prep in advance but what about when you're out and about? Do like I used to do and call someone you think might be in front of a computer? Until they refuse to take your calls until you get a smartphone like I did to other people?
posted by bleep at 7:23 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only thing I can think of this guy's MD is the old joke:

"What do you call a medical student with the lowest score in the class? Doctor."
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:24 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Quoth the 'dating expert':
"I don't know how anybody could possibly date without a smartphone."
"You don't wanna be too sincere, sometimes..."

I guess this is what I'm missing. Age... 'tis a blessing, I reckon....
posted by JulesER at 7:34 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


It was pretty funny watching this evolve. Like, i used to know a bunch of people who didn't have a smart phone by choice and pretty much as a statement. iPhones aren't punk rock, you know?

Now the only people i know without smartphones are friends of mine who lost their phone and got the cheapest flip phone at the store until they can get one again, and my dad.

It's that weird parabolic curve of cool-not cool/cool to rebel against-ubiquitous and meaningless.
posted by emptythought at 7:41 PM on June 18, 2015


the only reason I still have it is for directions. I don't understand how people function without that. It's fine to prep in advance but what about when you're out and about?

I deduce based on my surroundings and knowledge! And I am occasionally mildly inconvenienced in a way that isn't really compelling enough to particularly sell me on a specific consumer item.
posted by threeants at 7:43 PM on June 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


the only reason I still have it is for directions. I don't understand how people function without that. It's fine to prep in advance but what about when you're out and about?

My dad, who will never own a smartphone, has map books. Big, indexed map books. If he gets lost(which i think i've seen happen maybe 2-3 times in my entire life) he just pulls out the book, flips through the index, flips through a couple pages, and heads out.
posted by emptythought at 7:54 PM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't know what it is, but I hate this fucking guy. He's seems really smart, but he's so pleased with himself.

I want to drop a train engine on his head.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:55 PM on June 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


This can't last, of course. In a critical way dumbphones and smartphones are not variants of the same device, but different things altogether. The carriers are going to resist it for as long as possible, but it's inevitable that the special case voice circuit is going to become less and less important as people switch to low-latency streaming services like Facetime, or Tango or Skype or Hangouts or whatever. I already use Facetime audio exclusively with quite a few people. Sooner or later people are going to demand data-only plans, and the dumbphone will become a kind of walkie-talkie, a legacy device used for specialized purposes. Sooner or later carriers will drop service for them as unnecessary, outdated infrastructure.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:55 PM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


The flip phone thing is an affectation. The directions feature of smartphones is totally worth the price of admission on its own. You can easily do what I do, which is to use it for that, for actual calls, and mostly leave it alone the rest of the time. And I'm a heck of a lot older than this guy...

I confess to having a habit of searching the origins of the names of NYC districts as I walk through them, but I consider that a positive thing, as I know about e.g. Jacobus Hendrickson Kip, 1631-1690.

The ability to have access to all of human knowledge from anywhere continues to astonish, amuse and enlighten me. If you have trouble with mind-numbing apps, get rid of them, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


the only reason I still have it is for directions. I don't understand how people function without that. It's fine to prep in advance but what about when you're out and about?

GPS? How quickly they forget...
posted by serena15221 at 8:07 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


But did Mr. Kip vibrate?
posted by clavdivs at 8:08 PM on June 18, 2015


The flip phone thing is an affectation. ®
posted by threeants at 8:10 PM on June 18, 2015


I <3 my Apple Watch.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love my cell phone-free life! But then again, I don't date and do know how to read a map AND dead reckon.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:15 PM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's very funny but is it really meant to be? Doctor Hamblin MD seems so affectless compared with Ms Goudsmit, and it doesn't seem hipsterish to me, just less alive somehow.
posted by anadem at 8:16 PM on June 18, 2015


a humble nudibranch: I don't date and do know how to read a map AND dead reckon.

Yeah, but at 0.76 m/hr the map pretty much is the territory. Plus aren't you all hermaphrodites? Dating could be more fun than it is for the rest of us.
posted by sneebler at 8:21 PM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Less alive? Really? I have no cell phone at all, smart, flip or otherwise. And yet, all around me, the world, the actual world, is alive. Much more alive and vibrant than a tiny screen and a tiny speaker. But then again, I'm just a goofy old fart.
posted by tommyD at 8:23 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


But then again, you're on the same internet looking at a screen there.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel about smartphones roughly the way Starfleet feels about the Borg, I think. I'd rather not be assimilated. The internet is bad enough.
posted by Wemmick at 8:44 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


"It's fine to prep in advance but what about when you're out and about?"

Carry a map and hope for the best?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:54 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can also just stop and ask for directions.
posted by XMLicious at 8:56 PM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


My 5-year-old came in to sleep with us last night at 3 a.m. He claims he had a nightmare and had to protect us from it. I have bruises all up my right side and am operating on 3 hours of sleep.

It's not the adult in my bed that I object to.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:00 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I relied on the Thomas Guides for years while I was living in Los Angeles, but on some deep level I never really understood how to read directions until Google Maps had those satellite shots. So it's weird, I have great literacy in the geography of LA because I eventually discovered it through Google, but Chicago, where I grew up, still seems like a dreamscape to me.
posted by biddeford at 9:06 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


a proud moment from my pre-cell phone life was navigating from from south boston to cambridge square using only the location of hte sun and the position of the charles river having never been there before.

I'm proud of being able to do it, but I'd prefer to not have to do that again.
posted by Ferreous at 9:07 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


At the dentist today, the assistant was telling me about how someone sneered at her when she asked for directions, and that she feels like the only person who still uses a flip phone. I was a little confused by this, because I am an over-exuberant direction giver. So much so that I feel shame afterwards and feel like I just acted out a scene from The Jerk. Am I the only person this happens to?
posted by Brocktoon at 9:11 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


i'm 52 and just got my first smart phone a year ago and love the magic of the thing but this conversation centred so much around texting that it has me wondering: has texting taken over from email in business? I had a coop student working with me and got really frustrated by the fact that he only seemed to check his email very sporadically, through a browser. I lectured him about texting not being a proper way of communicating in business. Am I just hopelessly out of date?
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:20 PM on June 18, 2015


Boy, a lot of Hamblin haters in here. Just popped in to give my vote of contrarian approval. He's an acquired taste but I don't think he's any more stilted or annoying than a lot of medical professionals who think they know it all, and probably 100 times less condescending (and maybe 100 times more informative). I imagine that he would find the "hipster" designation amusing, given that he's about as far from a hipster as it gets (other than that he looks younger than Doogie Howser did), and given that in metafilterland the word "hipster" has been stretched beyond recognition to be about as much of an epithet (and as meaningless of one) as "asshat."
posted by blucevalo at 9:27 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I <3 my flip watch.
posted by benzenedream at 9:29 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Jeez, he's real-life Doogie Howser.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:37 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The flip phone thing is an affectation.

Jesus, really?

Get ahold of me in the 8-12 hours per day I'm in front of my work computer/iPad at home. Text/call my Google Voice number and I'll get back to you.

I carry a flip phone for emergency calls and letting my partner know if I'm staying out late, but damn, I'm capable of getting around my city without detailed instructions. I can just use Google Maps before I head out the door if absolutely necessary.

I guess I'll just stick to paying $100/yr. for the flip and calling it my wacky affectation.
posted by paulcole at 9:39 PM on June 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


has texting taken over from email in business?

For many of my coworkers (ages ranging from a year out of college to mid-50s), texting is the best way to reach them as they've long given up trying to wade through their email inboxes.
posted by jamaro at 9:51 PM on June 18, 2015


I heart my Electronic Quarterback from Coleco.

Anyone notice flip phones in "Gotham".
posted by clavdivs at 10:17 PM on June 18, 2015


I used to make a big deal about how I was living simply by not having a smartphone, but then my fiancee pointed out that we use hers all the time. Probably every time we're in the car together. Oh well.

I'd love to have a smartphone, but those things are expensive. I thought the whole Silicon Valley idea was that they'd introduce these technologies and then they'd become widespread and affordable? At least now I can dodge my horrible internet addiction from time to time.

It's actually kind of hard to get a non-smartphone that isn't really crappy. My phone isn't a flip phone, it's some cheap LG phone that constantly turns itself off for no reason. Sometimes I feel kind of embarrassed when I use it in front of people, especially if I'm in Beverly Hills or something. They should make iPhone lookalikes that let you blend in when you're using your stupid phone in public.
posted by teponaztli at 10:48 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd ditch my Nokia 1100 in a heartbeat if I didn't need to receive SMS for work.

I paid cash for it, PAYGO, so occasionally my carrier will call me up and have no idea how to address me. I kind of like the reassuring confusion they exhibit when I ask "Oh, do your records have me down as male?" when they call me "sir". I'm totally male on every axis that's come up in my life, but responding to everything they say with a surprised question about their lack of records on me has helped me feel like I've kept a comfortable distance from an invasive corporate titan.

After all, through tower triangulation they could tell the location of my bedroom. No sense giving them anything to link to that.

It is also fun when I go in to buy abother PAYGO voucher, and have the shop assistant try to upsell me. "Sir, if you're paying £20 per month I can save you money!"

"Can you beat £20 per year? Because I haven't been in here since last August."

I keep wondering how I got this way. When I was a teenager I would have just exploded with glee over the mobile gadgetry on display now. I coveted calculator watches and alphanumeric calculators. I scavenged an HP calculator and learned its RPN language to program equation solvers and little games. I bought a Game Boy with my own money, until my mother made me return it (and then a couple years later she bought one for my little brother). My family had very little disposable income, so I was simply on the wrong side of the glass from all of this kit.

I think what did it in for me was watching Conspicuous Consumers in their stockbroker chic, braying on mobile phones for $2 per minute right next to an unoccupied payphone. I used to walk up and hold up a quarter and cackle "Free phone call! I'm buying! Right this way!" It was just absurd on the face of it. And I was enough of a punk back then to rub their noses in it.

Anyway, it's kind of frustrating how much of an affectation a position similar to mine is becoming. I worry people will stop listening to the messages of avoiding waste and preserving privacy, and just say "Oh, you're only doing it to be cool." And then the moment will pass and it will no longer be cool and we'll be back to a new £500 surveillance device in your pocket every year, and the old one goes in the landfill.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:17 PM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


James Hamblin is amazing.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:21 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The flip phone thing is an affectation. The directions feature of smartphones is totally worth the price of admission on its own.

For some people, maybe - but I can totally see giving up GPS if, for example, you were spending most of your money on rent in an expensive city, or if you wanted to pay off some debt. If you're making a stipend as opposed to a salary and you live somewhere with good mass transit, GPS isn't that essential -- you can still get transit arrival times by text in a lot of places.

I don't have anything against smartphones (beyond a vague feeling of unease with granting more and more access to my life to various opaque entities), but I do have a lot of sympathy to the viewpoint that if a flip-phone serves your needs and your life runs ok with one, why get on the hedonic treadmill when you're just going to re-equilibrate in six months anyway?
posted by en forme de poire at 1:24 AM on June 19, 2015


I don't have a smartphone. I don't have a flip phone either, unless my candybar type Sony-Ericsson C702 counts as one (there's nothing to flip, though). I have a cheap plan for calls and text messages, and that's pretty much all I need. If/when I need a computer, I really prefer an actual keyboard and a decent screen. So I tend to schlep my (refurb) Thinkpad around a lot.

I might be in the market for a Firefox OS phone eventually. Because yes, the privacy thing concerns me, so anything with Android is out, and I'm... not an Apple person.

I'm not feeling that this is living simply. It's just being a little bit behind in technology. Which tends to work out a helluva lot cheaper.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:33 AM on June 19, 2015


No cellphone at all here, but the Beloved Partner has one. I honestly don't need one, but I have to admit it is at least in part because everyone else has one. A form of herd immunity.
posted by librosegretti at 3:29 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The flip phone thing is an affectation.
Maybe tone down the smugness a little? You choose to have a smartphone, and that's totally fine, and you don't get why someone would opt not to. But, oh my gosh, here's a revolutionary thought! Sometimes people have non-superficial reasons for doing the things they do, even if you can't wrap your head around them!

The directions feature of smartphones is totally worth the price of admission on its own.
For you, not necessarily everyone.

You can easily do what I do, which is to use it for that, for actual calls, and mostly leave it alone the rest of the time.
Bully for you. That's not for everyone.

The ability to have access to all of human knowledge from anywhere continues to astonish, amuse and enlighten me. If you have trouble with mind-numbing apps, get rid of them, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater...
Cool! It's good that you're able to derive joy and wonder from this. But hey, individual results may vary!
posted by duffell at 3:43 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The flip phone thing is an affectation. The directions feature of smartphones is totally worth the price of admission on its own.

Or, you can save the price of admission by looking up directions on Googlemaps on your computer before leaving the house.

Sometimes "the flip phone thing" is called "being frugal and not getting suckered into buying expensive shit just because it's newer and shinier than other things you already have that work just as well".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:56 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The flip phone thing is an affectation.

It's 500 dollars more a year spent on reducing the living world (and the people in it) to an abstraction. It's another screen to stare at for no reason. It's more exposure to advertising and other psychological manipulations. It's more reduction of your life into data that's less useful to you than it is to someone else. It's an electronic leash that, not people, "apps" can yank wherever and whenever. It's a tool that purportedly helps you manage life on which you must spend time and energy actively managing its intrusion into your life.

PBR me, ASAP.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 4:05 AM on June 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


That sleeping alone video is hilarious, and he is so adorable i can hardly stand it.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:12 AM on June 19, 2015


For many of my coworkers (ages ranging from a year out of college to mid-50s), texting is the best way to reach them as they've long given up trying to wade through their email inboxes.

I'm not sure how using SMS/text instead of email helps one to deal with the incoming volume of information.
If anyone in my organization "gave up" reading their email they'd be fired quickly.
posted by Koheleth at 4:16 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


If anyone in my organization "gave up" reading their email they'd be fired quickly.

This is a company supplied phone and they're paid for on-call, right?
posted by asockpuppet at 4:48 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


paper maps forever
posted by avocet at 5:09 AM on June 19, 2015


How did this 12 year old become a senior editor at the Atlantic?
posted by Agent_X_ at 5:48 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was going to make an impassioned statement about how smartphones can do all of these amazing things, but it's 2015, and you're probably reading this on a smartphone because you know these things to be true.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:52 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or, you can save the price of admission by looking up directions on Googlemaps on your computer before leaving the house.

Sometimes "the flip phone thing" is called "being frugal and not getting suckered into buying expensive shit just because it's newer and shinier than other things you already have that work just as well".


Yes, looking up maps works just as well for those times that there are no closed routes and you don't somehow get lost and you don't want to add a new place to go.

I grant not everyone needs a smartphone -- I probably don't need mine, though I like it -- but they do actually do useful things in more convenient ways than other things do, sometimes.
posted by jeather at 5:56 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


i'm 52 and just got my first smart phone a year ago and love the magic of the thing but this conversation centred so much around texting that it has me wondering: has texting taken over from email in business?

In my circles, this is a generation gap between me (31) and some of my younger friends (say 26ish). If I want to make Official Plans, I send an e-mail, but they text. This seems naturally and normal to me, even more so than it used to, since we've got smart phones and our e-mail is as accessible anywhere as text messages are, but sometimes this results in them missing messages because they're not likely to read their e-mails outside of work hours.

As for smart phones vs non-smart phones, I feel like maybe everyone could tone down the smugness? There's valid reason for preferring not to spend the money on a smart phone, but my smart phone also isn't stealing my soul with its evil screen; we're all just making consumer choices for what suits our needs, desires, and budgets.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:26 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I feel like maybe everyone could tone down the smugness?
posted by SinisterPurpose at 6:39 AM on June 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


I can't watch these videos on my old flip phone. Can someone call me and tell me what they're about?
posted by happyroach at 6:54 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I used to walk up and hold up a quarter and cackle "Free phone call! I'm buying! Right this way!"

Oh wow I hope you were a teen at the time, and now feel just super-embarrassed about this. You'd have to, right?
posted by joelhunt at 6:54 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


My wife was a dedicated non-smart-phone user for years. Recently she decided to try out the Samsung Galaxy Prime Core which you can get for about $99 and works with Sprint's prepaid plan. (You can actually pay a machine in cash for the plan if you want.) She loves it, mostly because of the maps and the fact that now we can both play Solitaire on the subway. Also the HD calling feature improved call clarity by around 500%.

But why anybody has any strong feelings about the phones that other people choose is beyond me.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:15 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]



But why anybody has any strong feelings about the phones that other people choose is beyond me.

I believe that thought process always boils down to 'You think you're better than me, don't you?'
posted by KHAAAN! at 7:41 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is not a long shelf life for this interviewer. The schtick is only cute for so long.
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:11 AM on June 19, 2015


Okay, you got me - the real reason why I keep a dumb phone is because I want to stay in practice with the old school way of doing things for when the zombies attack.

All y'all can go ahead and be freaking out because suddenly you don't know how to change course because "oh shit the exit I wanted to take out of the city is blocked and the signal is down and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOOO" but I'll already be halfway upstate because I'll still have the printout from when Googlemaps showed me that detour that one time.

(You can join my apocalypse bunker if you ever find your way to it without a signal, I guess)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:16 AM on June 19, 2015


Agent_X_: "How did this 12 year old become a senior editor at the Atlantic?"

That was my question too. Then I realized he's senior editor AND an MD. So, yeah, thanks for making me feel good about what I've accomplished in my life so far, Atlantic!! :P
posted by caution live frogs at 8:16 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I envy both people who can live comfortably with a flip phone, as well as people who don't have to rotate a map to the way they're facing to get any use out of it.
posted by griphus at 8:23 AM on June 19, 2015


I don't really give a shit what kind of phone you have, or whether you have a phone at all, because I think people are more than the sum of their consumer choices, and I don't want to judge them that way.


How's that for smugness?
posted by box at 8:28 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm 30, and I had a flip phone up until this past December. I figured I should make the jump because my phone at the time was dying and wasn't receiving all the texts from people with smartphones. And then a bunch of friends started getting into GroupMe, which blasts out texts like crazy for group chats trying to coordinate events. I switched mostly to deal with everyone else having smartphones. But if I could convince like a quarter of my friends to go back to flip phones, I'd go back in a heart beat.

The last flip phone I had could do a lot of things except for looking up directions (did you know you can interact with FB via text messages? I still do that on my smartphone when I don't wanna open up FB in a browser just to respond to a comment. You can also update Twitter via texts too. And both sites let you upload photos as an MMS.). But even then I had a small TomTom with me everywhere, which to this day still worked faster and gave me more navigation options than Google Maps on my smartphone. I still carry around a point-and-shoot which has more capabilities than any smartphone cameras.

What I probably miss most is the tactile keys. I could text without looking like a boss. Swipe on android is barely acceptable for not looking, and i still have to look to see if it guessed the correct word.
posted by numaner at 9:08 AM on June 19, 2015


box: "I think people are more than the sum of their consumer choices"

It's more than mere consumer choice though. Past a certain level of smartphone saturation, the social expectations change. Managers expect their employees to be reachable after hours, websites begin tailoring their services to smartphone users, people assume anything less than an immediate reply is a social snub... and this effects even people without smartphones. I don't have a smartphone because I can already feel my attention span going goldfish-y, but I worry for the day when it's too socially costly to not own one.
posted by Wemmick at 9:17 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or, you can save the price of admission by looking up directions on Googlemaps on your computer before leaving the house.

Just hope that nothing --the destination, routes with/without construction, an accident that closes lanes--changes between leaving the house and getting where you're going.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:23 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh I just realized you later mentioned a printout. PRINTERS! I haven't had one of those in 7 years.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:28 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just hope that nothing --the destination, routes with/without construction, an accident that closes lanes--changes between leaving the house and getting where you're going.

I suppose I'd just do exactly what I did in those instances before Smartphones existed - call people if anyone was waiting for me to say "hey, there was an accident and I'm running a bit late" (Dumbphones still work as PHONES, remember) and then otherwise just punt.

I don't need my hand held for every single hour of my life, after all. And besides, leaving the house at all just assumes a certain element of risk, just like Bilbo Baggins said - "It's a dangerous business going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” If you ain't comfortable with the risk of things happening to you en route somewhere, you may as well just stay home.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:33 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still use a flip phone. It's because I'm poor.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:39 AM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


I still use a flip phone. It's because I'm poor.

yeah, that too
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on June 19, 2015


"It's fine to prep in advance but what about when you're out and about?"

I realize this is highly controversial and may not go over well here but there does exist the option of verbal in-person human interaction.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:59 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I don’t have a smartphone" has totally become the new "I don't even own a television," hasn't it?
posted by webmutant at 10:43 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I like not having to deal with outdated road maps in a falling apart atlas that's been stuffed under a seat for 5 years. I don't think having the ability to pull up up to date maps and information is having my hand held. There's nothing cool or independent about not knowing reviews of restaurants before you go into them.
posted by Ferreous at 11:21 AM on June 19, 2015


I like not having to deal with outdated road maps in a falling apart atlas that's been stuffed under a seat for 5 years. I don't think having the ability to pull up up to date maps and information is having my hand held. There's nothing cool or independent about not knowing reviews of restaurants before you go into them.

So a detour and a less-than-great resturant experience are our worst case scenarios now? This might be why they hate us. They being the oppressed. Us being the privileged.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 11:28 AM on June 19, 2015


I suppose I'd just do exactly what I did in those instances before Smartphones existed - call people if anyone was waiting for me to say "hey, there was an accident and I'm running a bit late" (Dumbphones still work as PHONES, remember) and then otherwise just punt.
. . . . I don't need my hand held for every single hour of my life, after all.


I'm on foot or in public transit 99% of the time. I don't think using tech for the 1% of the time that is spent in a car qualifies as "hand holding for every single hour of my life." If I'm in a car odds are it's because I'm many many hundreds of miles from home, often in a place I've never been. And when shit went wrong I still mostly had to punt but at least I didn't have to punt blind.

(Admittedly I am most always traveling to see family; my family cannot navigate themselves out of a lunch sack, much less navigate me, remotely, to a destination via detours. Calling them for help is absolutely always a disaster.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:36 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


So a detour and a less-than-great resturant experience are our worst case scenarios now? This might be why they hate us. They being the oppressed. Us being the privileged.

Oh for crying out loud. Yes, my six year old smartphone with its map app and I are the sad coward hobbits that make everyone hate America. And we would have got away with it, if it weren't for you meddling Metafilterers!
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:41 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I didn't claim those were worst case scenarios. I'm saying that there's nothing about having information at your fingertips that somehow equates with having your hand held 24/7. The privilege element is a complete derail. Yes of course it's a privilege to have advanced technology but this is in response to someone claiming that people liking to have information available to them is an element of being unwilling to take risk. We take many risks walking out the door, having a smartphone mitigates some of them, it doesn't mean anyone doing so is fearful.
posted by Ferreous at 11:43 AM on June 19, 2015


I'm saying that there's nothing about having information at your fingertips that somehow equates with having your hand held 24/7.

And I'm saying that there's nothing about not having that information at your fingertips that makes you a backward troglodyte who fears technology, the way everyone is making it sound like I am.

I agree that a smartphone is convenient. But it just happens to a a convenience that I've decided I can get by without, and I don't like being made to feel like I'm a fuddy-duddy for having made that choice. that's all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


So this broke two ways.

People who don't have smart phones shared their reasons for not having one.

People who do have smart phones cried out, "OMG! YOU DON'T HAVE A FUCKING SMART PHONE!?! HOW ARE YOU ALIVE?!? Oh! You're a hipster." Which is the weird undertone of the video.

Mefites with smartphones then may or may not have shared the reasons they found a smartphone useful. And by my flawed recollection, most of them could have just bought a Garmin and had no further use for a smartphone.

Actually, in comparison to paying for a smartphone monthly, it seems like a fancy-ass Garmin GPS might be a really nice choice. I digress.

The point my previous comment was meant to hold up was that we will just polarize over the dumbest fucking shit. Also, people who do have smartphones will, at times, treat you like an inconvenience. Which is irritating. Stop texting me links. I'm not typing that shit in.

The overall take away is this. It's still hard to hold values which result in behaviours that differ from the majority. Because people will literally treat you to questions like, "What's wrong with you?" Or statements like, "I guess some people just have to be different!" Or they imply or directly state that you're a hipster. Which may or may not be a kind of cultural bigotry. I don't know. Again, I digress.

So, when the opportunity comes to pseudoanonymously take it to a bunch of smartphone lusers not seeing the other side of the equation on the internet arises? Yeah. I'm pretty much there.

I guess this is what it feels like to be Amish.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 12:35 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


People who do have smart phones cried out, "OMG! YOU DON'T HAVE A FUCKING SMART PHONE!?! HOW ARE YOU ALIVE?!? Oh! You're a hipster." Which is the weird undertone of the video.

There was exactly one comment like that. There was a couple "I have a smart phone and can't imagine how I lived without it." Your description sounds like a very different thread than the one I read.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:42 PM on June 19, 2015


> I guess this is what it feels like to be Amish.

Yeah, no.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:08 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah actually "taking it to the losers" isn't something the Amish are real big on.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:16 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your description sounds like a very different thread than the one I read.

Yeah, sometimes different people have different reactions to the same comments so this is a thing that can happen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:17 PM on June 19, 2015


Oh I had no idea people could have different points of view so thanks for clearing that up.

Meanwhile I'm left to wonder what this thread would have been had it been about something other than people talking incessantly about which products they don't own.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:35 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree that a smartphone is convenient. But it just happens to a a convenience that I've decided I can get by without, and I don't like being made to feel like I'm a fuddy-duddy for having made that choice. that's all.

I think this is one of those "you're free to say what you want, but you aren't free from the consequence of what you say" sort of situation. If the worst element of your choice is being made to feel old fashioned, I think that's your cross to bear.
posted by Ferreous at 1:37 PM on June 19, 2015


For example, the thing on restaurant menus is pretty well established stuff, but it's still pretty interesting to watch someone apply the principles to an actual menu, as is the idea to change marketing of healthy foods using the same ideas.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:39 PM on June 19, 2015


This is a ludicrous thread, mostly because whether or not to have a smartphone is one of the most inconsequential and utterly unimportant decisions you can make in life. If you are judging someone for having or not having a smartphone, you perhaps need to reflect on why you are doing that, because it certainly isn't for any sound or charitable reason.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:41 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


If you are judging someone for having or not having a smartphone, you perhaps need to reflect on why you are doing that, because it certainly isn't for any sound or charitable reason.

It does kind of seem that the entire premise of the very first linked video is "hey, this is someone without a smartphone! Isn't that weird?" so there did seem to be judgement from one particular direction coming right out of the gate, is the thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:54 PM on June 19, 2015


That attitude was clearly tongue in cheek. "How do you send confusing mixed messages without emjois" isn't "WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A SMART PHONE YOU LUDDITE?" It's a joke.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:00 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you'd like to see someone who looks like a teenager being put into a torture device, don't skip the Cryotherapy video. It's definitely something.

Actually, it's pretty charming. It takes a lot of charisma to make a video enjoyable when it's, like, 3 minutes of chatting about funny words on menus or being vaguely skeptical of a woman talking about the benefits of nitrogen-cooled air on your skin, but I found them pretty worth a few minutes of my late Friday afternoon.
posted by Copronymus at 2:17 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


there does exist the option of verbal in-person human interaction.

Another reason to want a smartphone.
posted by jeather at 2:19 PM on June 19, 2015


But even then I had a small TomTom with me everywhere, which to this day still worked faster and gave me more navigation options than Google Maps on my smartphone. I still carry around a point-and-shoot which has more capabilities than any smartphone cameras.

I prefer to carry around one device than 3, though. I know my camera isn't as good, but it's good enough; I know the directions aren't as good, but usually I am just looking up addresses and/or cross streets. Sure, you can carry around lots of devices that just do one thing really well, but sometimes it's nice to carry around just the one device that does lots of things well enough.
posted by jeather at 2:27 PM on June 19, 2015


I did find his awkwardness (real or fake I'm not really sure) genuinely amusing and charming. That tween doctor-editor might have a career ahead of him!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:27 PM on June 19, 2015


has texting taken over from email in business?

Yea, even among middle aged people it seems. Managers at of other offices/departments text me with IT emergencies instead of just calling me and it always pisses me off. Texting is for "hey i'm having a few people over tonight wanna come drink at my new buildings pool?" not "DSL and backup line are down please respond ASAP we have no connectivity"

Fuck, i mute texts when i'm sleeping.

Everyone i've talked to in an office says they get quite a few work related texts too. Which is once thing if you have a work issued phone, but on like, my phone that i pay for? I don't know, it feels like some kind of invasion that calling doesn't to have Serious Work Stuff intermingled with meme pics and drunken stupidity on my messages app.
posted by emptythought at 3:57 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I don’t have a smartphone" has totally become the new "I don't even own a television," hasn't it?

Yes, 100% absolutely yes. With almost exactly the same connotations and political messaging/alignment.

Although as having a smartphone simply became ubiquitous, the new thing is not caring about it and having an older beat up one that's maybe cracked or held together with a case or stickers since you're completely apathetic about it.

The no TV thing is still alive and well too. And it's funny, because a lot of those people do watch lots of netflix and keep up with game of thrones and such. They just only watch it on their laptop or at friends houses or whatever.

I've also noticed a growing contingent of people who have an old tube tv, maybe even one of those ones with a built in VHS deck, and only collect VHS tapes/dvds.
posted by emptythought at 4:02 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess I'll just stick to paying $100/yr. for the flip and calling it my wacky affectation.

Before I had my current job with its thousands of nagios alerts a month, I used a similar pay as you go plan. With a smartphone. You can have nearly all the benefits of a smartphone without a data plan. The only drawback I recall is losing turn by turn navigation, which I think Google might have added caching for finally.
posted by pwnguin at 5:45 PM on June 19, 2015


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