I remember when I was about 10 years old my cousins showed up at our door with a cell phone. At that time it looked more like a portable radio than a phone, but a phone it was none the less. They wowed us by calling our house phone from right within our own house! Can you believe that?
As cell phones became more popular, I was less wowed by them and more annoyed at how accessible the people that had them had become. What happened to the days when someone couldn’t get a hold of you if you weren’t at home? Cell phones to me at that time were a hindrance to my privacy and my freedom.
I maintained this stance into my second year of university. My friends were texting one another by that time, but I still didn’t really see the point. I’m not sure what changed my opinion, but one day I was walking by the Telus Mobility booth in West Edmonton Mall and I stopped to look. Not only did I stop to look, but on an impulse (or because of a good salesperson?) I bought my first cell phone. Upon returning to my dorm, my floormates looked at me with puzzled expressions and asked ‘weren’t you just saying yesterday how you’d never get a cell phone?’ It’s true, I had said that. And there I was with one.
Over the years I’ve adapted my use of a cell phone as new features and technologies emerged. I’ve left it at work before and honest to goodness, I went back after hours to fetch it. I feel naked without it, not just because it’s a fun accessory, but because it really has become fundamental to the way I live my life. It changed the way that I do everything over the course of the 8 years since my first purchase. Now, it’s not only a phone, but it’s my alarm clock, my watch, my map and directions, my entertainment via the built in iPod on a road trip (if you haven’t guessed I’ve got an iPhone), my home internet and my one tie to pretty much all of my daily activities.
Social networking is now going much the same way. The first versions were big, clunky radios that impressed people a bit because they were so new, but after awhile the lustre wore off. Now, it’s been around for a few years and we’re starting to see some really cool features being built in like localization and different services tying into one another. In another 2-3 years we’ll have the smart phones of social networks and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.
Aside: Did you know the first cell phone was invented in the 1970s by a man named Marty Cooper?