One of the most used technologies when it comes to communication in Africa is the cell phone (mobile phone). It is so widely used that most African banks now use it to deliver banking solutions to suit those people who live in remote areas or those who prefer not to deal with that clingy bank teller who rattles on and on about how she can’t find true love despite all her good efforts.
However, the cell phone, with all its advantages, has irreversibly changed the way we interact with each other. Gone are the days when someone spent a year without talking to you because they genuinely couldn’t get in touch with you. These days we have Facebook, BBM, Mxit, Whatsapp and a whole host of tools available on our phones that make it harder to use the “I didn’t have your number” line on anyone.
Although I am a fan of technology, I feel that as cell phones have become smarter they have also become so pervasive that there are few things in our lives that are not in some way connected to them. For example, I struggle to have a conversation with my friends or my girlfriend without someone or something on my phone petitioning for an audience with me.
We talk about being free and living in a civilised society yet our biggest slave master is right there with us all the time in our pockets, handbags and even inside our bras (yes TIA some people do that here). Upon leaving our houses every morning, we pad ourselves down every now and again as a ritual to check that we haven’t forgotten our phones.
It has become so ridiculous that we spend the day chatting to friends and loved ones telling them how we can’t wait to see them only to visit them, whip out our phones, start chatting with other people who are not there feeding them the same sentimental BS about how we must do lunch sometime. I am no expert but it is safe to suggest that we are very much addicted to our cell phones like alcoholics are to alcohol.
Think about it, we are on our cell phones almost all the time except when we are sleeping (with our phones right by the side of the pillow just in case). We spend money (that we don’t have sometimes) to feed this habit by buying the latest smart phone that we simply ‘need’ to have. We get irritated when someone even suggests that we are addicted to our cell phones and even retort with the “I can stop any time I want to” line.
I end this with a challenge; in fact forget that I dare you. I dare you to leave your Blackberry, iPhone, Tab or whatever your poison is… I dare you to leave that at home today and not look at it for the whole day. Prove to yourself that you are not a slave to your phone and that you can survive without it like you probably have for a large chunk of your life. Okay hold on brb my friend just pinged me.
*TIA = This is Africa