Friday, November 4, 2011

Conversation? Is there an app for that?

How I long for a "smartphone."

It will be yet another way for me to ignore family and friends, especially during mealtime.

And, it will make me seem more important when I have to read a score update rather than talk to the person in front of me.

Remember the pager, that little gadget attached to your hip?

When it beeped or vibrated, it was a convenient way to say, "gotta go."

And you were believed. By appearing that you had more important things to do than talk to another human being, you earned respect.

The cell phone expanded this modern dynamic with texting, yet another case of a noun switching to a verb.

The smartphone has taken this to a whole new level of social avoidance.

With the Facebook smartphone app, you can update your Wall while you're having lunch with a mutual friend, who is doing the same thing on his or her Facebook Wall.

Or consider the modern tableau featured in the Bizarro cartoon. It's great seeing simians enjoying time together even though everyone is playing with their smartphone.

It expands interaction beyond the four sitting there, to everyone following them on Twitter.

Just imagine Thanksgiving this year. There won't be any arguments because everyone will be busy cruising the web on an iPhone, Thunderbolt or Galaxy. There won't be food fights because, hey, those phones are expensive.

In more intimate settings, when you don't have anything to say to the person across the table, you no longer have to chat about that always safe subject: the weather.

With a mere swipe, you can find the weather in Bend or Bangalore, average highs and lows, plus long-range forecasts. You'll sound impressive doing so, even though the person you're with doesn't care at all about the weather in Bend or Bangalore.

No need anymore to ask anyone for directions to anywhere or for suggestions on restaurants, movies or music. It's all at your fingertips.

Disagreements can be settled instantly, rather than waiting to look up something later in a dictionary, encyclopedia or almanac.

Need to figure out when and where Hitchcock appears in "Dial M For Murder?" No problem. Google it on your Droid.

The pursuit of trivia supremacy is now at your fingertips.

Where would we be without the smartphone?

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