I have no problem admitting that I was late jumping on the SmartPhone train. My droid and I weren’t united until Christmas 2010. I wasn’t upset at this delay. I couldn’t understand why somebody like me would ever need a smartphone. I was attached to my computer enough as it was (is). I didn’t need to be able to check my email 24/7. It wasn’t like I was conducting business deals in Milan – I was getting notifications about the due date of library books. Once I got my phone, however, my perspective changed. I didn’t take long before I became “one of those d-bags that gets an email on their phone, marks it as read, but never actually reads it or gets back to you.” How many times a day does your phone go off with some new message as seemingly inconsequential as the last? I tried to organize the emails with labels and attach stars to emails I really needed to get to.
Now I’m not saying that smartphones are this inherent evil that needs to be eradicated. I’m not encourage iPhone and Blackberry users to come together for a collective phone smashing nor am I suggesting we revert back to the rotary phone (although the retro feel does have some kind of attractive aesthetic). I’m saying that smartphones have taken an already arguably impersonal form of communication (e-mailing) and added another degree of separation.
I remember the annoyance I used to feel when I received emails with that obnoxious little tag at the bottom –
- Sent from my iPhone
- Sent from my Blackberry
I used to respond – “Not sent from my phone” and “Sent from an actual computer”
On average emails sent from phones are shorter and more concise. On one hand, that’s great. Decisions get made and information gets transmitted faster. On the other hand, I have to say that it’s disheartening to write out an email only to receive a one or two word reply in response. One of my professors is so brisk with his email replies that for a while I thought he sent all of them through his phone. At the very least, such stunted responses are impersonal; at worst they’re rude. Trying to type out anything beyond a few sentences on a phone can get pretty tedious. I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself trying to reply to an email on my phone before realizing that I don’t have to peck away on my touchscreen. I have an actual computer I can use.
Whether responding from your mobile device or computer, common courtesy should still reigns supreme.