(C)hell Phones – are they good for us?

So, I read this article on Wired News today and it struck a chord. I am always surprised how folks react when I didn’t have a cell phone. (DISCLAIMER: I now own a Virgin Mobile pay as you go phone that sits in my home office way more than anywhere else. The occasional trip out of town and the lack of public phones forced it on me)

But, when I didn’t have a cell phone, folks were SO SURPRISED and almost shocked by the fact. In the land of the geeks, cell phone lackluster attitude just doesn’t seem right or so it seems. And, given my fascination with other electronic toys and gadgets, it does seem a bit out of character. But, I’ve never been a fan of the phone, in general. I didn’t sit in my room during my pre-teen and teen years on the phone with the friends I just left at school. I was too busy playing my 10 LPs over and over and over again.

But, from a psychological perspective, I am frequently bothered by cell phone users. I don’t like to listen to their conversations and I often cannot escape them. If I walk into a home or office and someone is on the phone, I usually leave and wait for the conversation to end. If someone is sitting in the cereal aisle perusing the Cheerio options (ooo, whole grain!), while asking the invisible person on the other end of the call, “Whatcha doin’?”, I can’t escape the answer unless I miss picking up my Kashi GoLean box. Don’t even get me started on the phone calls during movies, theatre performances and live concerts. I can get ballistic on that. But, I digress.

I did like notion from the Wired article that the cell phones narrow our social network because users tend to call the same small group of folks.

“It’s not exactly horizon- or mind-expanding. Combine that restrictedform of sociability with other social developments like gatedcommunities, filtered news sources and a security-obsessed state and itleads to a dangerous narrowing of the mind.”

That is an aspect I do like about the ‘net – I can connect with folks all over the world, in strange and wonderful ways. And, I don’t have to know a 10 digit number for each one of them. Or be awake at the same time or on the same provider network.

Read the article yourself. What do you think?

Wired News: Cell Phones? Hell Phones!