The Benefits of Being Smart

To those who say that smart phones and tablets have had a bad effect on us; I offer a different opinion.  I would like to talk about the benefits of being smart. You don’t have to go to college. You don’t have to take a test. All you need is a smart device to launch you into this new society.

First of all there are text messages. There have been many benefits to using text messages which we are just now starting to grasp. Getting quick reminders and sharing important information without being dragged into long conversations is great for productivity. Being able to get those messages out to multiple people at one time while thinking about it; is nothing short of a miracle.

I’m such a know-it-all now.

You can be a genius. Because of this new collective you can literally ‘search your brain’ (in cyber space). You almost don’t need a mind of your own anymore. (I guess that can be kind-of scary.) You can learn any subject too. I watch You Tube videos and take college courses for free just to further my own knowledge about the world. I could probably have the equivalent of multiple degrees just because of my smart phone. I’m personally bad at being a mechanic but I can learn how to fix some things online without paying someone else to do it.

‘Having the world at your fingertips’ has never been more literal.

Ordering almost any product is easy. So is reading books and watching TV or movies. You can talk to someone on the other side of the world and ask them questions about their life instantly. There are ratings on everything and reviews. You can virtually visit hundreds of thousands of places. Taking a pre-trip before going somewhere is extremely helpful.

A smart phone helps people ignore socially awkward situations.

One of my favorite benefits to the smart phone is being ‘busy’ with something anytime. While waiting at the coffee shop I can look at my e-mail or read something on social media. That way, I can avoid looking at people who might be looking at me. I know that sounds cold and robotic but, do you remember how awkward it is being trapped with a bunch of strangers in a small space with nothing to say?

Take an elevator for example when crowded in so close with strangers. That is the epitome of awkward. It used to be a newspaper or a book or a fake phone call to dodge them with. But now all you have to do is stare incessantly at that little screen. It’s the way to say you’re busy and not looking to add more commotion to your life at the moment.

I learned all this from teenagers, by the way.

Teens are good at ignoring people anyway. They knew these tricks long before adults. But now as I look around our emoji world; I see everyone joining in on this distracted life. At the airport I watched a whole row of elderly adults enraptured in their digital experiences. It was like watching a new cultural revolution that happened almost seamlessly and seemingly overnight.

The benefit here is that if our older adults can adapt and take part in social media too then that is another way to connect to the younger generation. We desperately need that. I don’t see that this will isolate us from each other. I think those who connect already will connect even more and those who already bury themselves in books and TV will just use it to escape in a different way. And the rest of us will fall somewhere in between.

Again, I’m not highlighting any bad repercussions. I know there will be some of that. All I’m saying is that for the moment, there are some great benefits. I love the smart phone revolution despite some of the things that scare me. I suppose it is a brave new world. Hopefully we can cautiously adapt. But I plan to set aside some ‘dumb’ days without the smart phone, tablet, computer and TV to go outside and get a little IRL (in real life) time. I guess I’m just old fashioned (or at least nostalgic), after all.

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