The Necessity of a Smartphone

The Necessity of a Smartphone
Photo by by iulian nistea
A New York Times article from last year looks at how the adoption of new technology, in particular smartphones, is as much about consumer sociology and psychology as it is about chips, bytes and bandwidth. Android commentators being the exception.

For a growing swath of the population, the social expectation is that one is nearly always connected and reachable almost instantly via e-mail. The smartphone, analysts say, is the instrument of that connectedness — and thus worth the cost, both as a communications tool and as a status symbol.

The downside to this need for constant connection.

Such a digital connection can have its downside. The perils of obsessive smartphone use have been well documented, including distracted driving and the stress of multitasking. CrackBerry, a term coined years ago, is telling.
The smartphone, said Mr. Meyer, a cognitive psychologist, can be seen as a digital “Skinner box,” a reference to the experiments of the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner in which rats were conditioned to press a lever repeatedly to get food pellets.
With the smartphone, he said, the stimuli are information feeds. “It can be powerfully reinforcing behavior,” he said. “But the key is to make sure this technology helps you carry out the tasks of daily life instead of interfering with them. It’s about balance and managing things.”

Smartphone Rises Fast From Gadget to Necessity