Monday, April 9, 2012

The iPhone identity

My husband got his first iPhone last week after a few years believing his BlackBerry was his most prized possession, until the last month or two when it started giving hassles and he believed it would look better in a thousand pieces on the floor.

I’m due for an upgrade next month and I also plan on replacing my tiny Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini with an iPhone. I’m excited but also extremely nervous.

Maybe I’m showing my age, but my husband said something a few days ago that has stuck with me ever since. He said having an iPhone is not like having any old phone; it’s a whole new identity.

I can vouch for his claims, because ever since he acquired the device, I’ve become chopped liver and get more attention from the television set. I’m trying not to complain too much about it because I imagine I’ll be the same when it’s my turn. We’re all like that with a new phone, right? It’s a new toy; something we’ll fiddle with for hours on end during the first few weeks.

In just two days, my husband has been swallowed up by Instagram, Draw Something, iChat and a motocross game he finds incredibly fascinating because he can control the bike simply by tilting his phone. In his place is a person with a vague resemblance to my husband, only with squint eyes and warped thumbs.

And still, the “whole new identity” bit is haunting. Social networking only really took off when we were in our early twenties. We use some platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, but not others, like Mxit – we missed that age train by a few years. It’s strange – even though my brother is only eight years younger than I am, I still feel as though he was born into a whole new generation. Social networking is all he’s ever known.

And even though a journalist friend of mine recently attended an event that revealed that youngsters think people with iPhones are old, the iPhone is still an incredibly connected device that facilitates social networking like no other in a way I have never experienced before – and I’m scared. I don’t want to be like one of those teenagers with their thumbs permanently glued to their phones and their eyes averted from the path in front of them. I want to be here when I’m here; not here, but not here because I’m somewhere else via the iPhone.

For now, I’ll enjoy only using my phone to send text messages, make calls and browse the Internet occasionally. Who knows what I’ll be doing this time next month.

I hope you’ll still recognise me with squint eyes and warped thumbs.