Day 5: Smartphone Burden


Today, I find it important to talk about information overload. What I slowly started to realize over time with my smartphone was that I would go on content binges, and these would usually happen early in the morning after waking up or right before going to sleep. It came in the form of Facebook posts, Twitter updates, texts, FaceTime calls, and Wikipedia wormhole adventures. I would sometimes lose track of time and find myself hours later in a sort of phone-high from the dizzying amount of information my mind had just consumed.

While I have covered the escapism aspects to smartphones, I think it is also crucial to explore how they manifest themselves by presenting us unlimited amounts of information, the implications of this frequency of content, and the cycle of addiction it creates.

As I have explained in previous posts, the frequency of information that comes from our phones is really like nothing we have experienced before. Newspapers, TV, and even computers do not offer the accessibility, latitude of exploration and breadth of application and connection our smartphones offer. Put simply, I believe are smartphones are actually designed around a cycle of dependence. Just as a news site continuously has to fill their site with new content for their readers, our phones are formed around this exact same concept; always promising to offer new content. A newspaper can only offer you one day of news, but the real power of the smartphone comes from the fact that it is always being updated, but more specifically, designed to keep you looking at it. A prime example of this is Instagram’s notification that is sent to your phone after a few weeks of not using the app. And this may just be the most dangerous aspect to our phones. We are psychologically tied to them because the applications need to keep making money, and it is through our attention and our time that they earn it.

Apart from the psychological dependence, there is also the effect of what intaking that much information does to our minds. If the first thing you do is look at your phone in the morning, you are committing yourself to a flush of information. But if you think about it, our energy and capacity is very precious. And we have to be careful in how we choose to spend it.