F@$# Cell Phones?

Some Hoboken Graffiti Might Make Sense!

Most of the time, these scribbled “social messages” or whatever you want to call them – are utter nonsense.

However, I think that this particular note on 11th Street has a rather interesting vibe: “F-ck Cell Phones!”

If you’ve paid attention to your surroundings as mobile devices have become more “digital leashes” in our society – Facebook, email, text messages, and every up-to-the-minute update about celebrities or politicians – you realize exactly what is the problem with our world.

Don’t get me wrong, our “evolution” with technology and instant communication does have some upsides – but at the same time, the downsides have come fast and furious.

Digital Addiction at an All-Time High

As little as just 5 years ago – you could actually make eye contact with a majority of the pedestrians walking the sidewalks in Hoboken.

Today? To this author, it appears that the number of folks cruising town who are glued to their digital devices has risen five or 10 times.

I often compare what is happening to that awesome move The Matrix – where people aren’t actually living in the real world, but rather the bits and bytes of a digital, computerized environment. They compete with their thousand so-called “friends,” spend hours looking at photos of OTHER people’s lives, racking their brains for witty one-line comments to some other mundane topic someone posted on their “walls.”

Funny anecdote – I sometimes get a Hoboken411 hater – who feels the need to bash me (like the new low-carb living section where, by the way, I have already received hundreds of thank you letters since it began) – saying stuff like “This isn’t about Hoboken, dude,” or something similar.

Yet the idiots that complain about what they THINK my site should be about, go on and talk about totally ridiculous things on their web (facebook) page. Talk about hypocrisy!

Here’s a 2012 resolution for you all: Unplug more often

While Hoboken411 might have a good reason to be “connected” at all times (it is my way of life, really) – I’ve taken a profound step in the another direction.

I have identified the incredible addiction to the internet & communication protocols out there (just see how you feel if your net or cell goes down). And I’ve realized that it can take over and “rule” your life. I stopped that back in mid-2011.

Camping Trips to New Hampshire, Excursions to Lake Placid, weekend apple picking, and countless other “off the grid” moments that don’t get documented here.

Rather than worry about every blip of data, who said what, and constantly “refreshing” for the latest nonsensical tidbit of meaningless information – I decided to get MY life back. Get back in tune with REAL people, not just type-written notes, or heavily abbreviated tweets or other hollow messages.

So here are some steps I took to at least give me some defense against this inundating “Matrix” –

  1. When I leave the house (i.e., go outside, walk the dog, go to the gym, store, you name it) – SILENCE THE PHONE. The purpose of my trip is physical and personal – not digital and electronic. Spend your new found time away from the interwebs to actually TALK to people. Observe your environment, smell the air, connect with what you see around you, rather than what’s on your little Android or iPhone.
  2. Identify who your friends are – and ask yourself “How much socializing do I really need to do online?” I recall a moment last year, when I had met up with a friend who I hadn’t talked to in a while (we both rarely use any social networking site). And instead of us just talking about what we saw online, or elaborating about a whimsical link or status update – we shared REAL WORLD stories, and they were told (fresh) from the mouth. Hilarious, suspenseful, and dramatic – something you will NEVER get with a tiny online update that gets lost in the sauce with all your other “close” online “friends” competing for your time. It was one on one, and priceless.
  3. TMI – I mean really, TMI, WTMI! Think about your life 10 years ago. How did you get from point A to Point B? When I said “addiction” in the subheading above, I meant it. How is it that just a short while ago, we were collectively content with doing other things – and now we cannot live without our “fix” for constant new data? Regardless whether it’s meaningful? What have we become?
  4. Time and a place – moderation. Really. When I leave the house – that journey becomes my world. I do not bring the baggage of online interaction with me wherever I go. Why should I? I love looking at the surroundings, observing organic, real life. When I’m at home – sure I spend a lot of time online, creating, learning, and so on. But not being tethered to the social network at all times is liberating.

Wait, you run an online site – What’s up with that?

You’re right if you ask that. Hoboken411 is here for anyone to use 24 hours a day. You can check out one of the nearly 30,000 story updates and a quarter million reader comments whenever you want.

However, Hoboken411 isn’t meant to be a social networking site. It’s a place where a genuine, long-time Hoboken resident provides his perspective on the “State of the City.” No sugar-coated press releases, no expectations, no BS – just honest (and quite humbly) logical sentiments about life in the mile square city. I wouldn’t get millions of pageviews a month if I was just talking about politics, now would I?

So what is the “Net-Net?”

Good point! The purpose of this post – was to connect with the “F-ck Cell Phones” graffiti, right?

I’ll leave you with nothing more than a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do I really need to answer / check ever call, beep, blip on my cell phone?
  • Can I walk a block without “refreshing” some kind of app on my phone, tablet, device?
  • What would happen if I didn’t have my smartphone for an hour? A day? A week? A month? Think about it.
  • Do you clearly remember what landmarks you walked by on your way home or to work today?

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1 Comment on "F@$# Cell Phones?"

4 years 8 months ago

Right there with you when it comes to silencing the phone. Amazing the influence these devices are having on us. Scary, really.