Phones are not bad

But I did know that I had to put mine away in order to write this article. It seems like we are all suffering from phone addiction or “Nomophobia”, an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia” – a term proposed during a UK study evaluating anxieties suffered by mobile phone users when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery, or have no network coverage”. Sounding familiar? Yes? It’s happened to me too. I lost my phone at Disneyland Paris, and I transformed into a monster [seriously you can’t imagine my face], asking the entire staff at the Disney Resort for help. I don’t know how but the monster found her phone an hour later.

I’m not saying phones are bad, as they actually inspired this post. It is not technology’s fault, it’s what you do with your phone that we are evaluating. Are you killing some time or doing something productive?

Writing is my way of teaching myself some lessons. So here are my findings:

1. Are we missing the moment by capturing the moment? 

We are obsessed about recording or taking the pictures of concerts and events we go to – it’s our conscious decision to watch it from a tiny screen. I was wondering what a photographer thinks about it. They don’t have a choice. Do they?

Steve Simon, a photographer based in NY, refers to a great scene in the film “The secret life of Walter Mitty” where Sean Penn have been waiting for hours to capture a snow leopard. And finally when it appears into the frame…
[I’m not going to ruin it for you, press the play button below.]

“Sometimes I don’t…if I like a moment…I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera…so I stay in it (the moment).”

There are good thoughts in Steve’s post. “Though photographers don’t always participate in the life they shoot, their eyes are wide open, alive and on the lookout for beauty and meaning; something the people staring into their phones are missing.” Read the full post here.

2. Are we becoming antisocial?

I found this talk from TED 2009 “Our antisocial phone tricks” by Renny Gleeson
Almost a decade later, it still rings true.

3. Do more with your phone

It’s amazing what you can achieve with determination and a reliable smartphone. It’s not good comparing yourself to others, but while we are recording a LIVE video, others are making films. Beyond well-known projects like “Tangerine”, an American film shot with three iPhone 5s and premiered on 2015 at the Sundance Film Festival; smartphones have played a key role in a number of productions, including Détour, a short film shot on an iPhone 7 by Michel Gondry as part of a creative ad campaign launched by Apple itself. Nowadays filmmakers don’t need big gear to create a great piece. 

There are Smartphone Film Festivals taking place in Toronto, Zurich, Sidney to name a few.  They are great for bringing new talent and developing the potential of mobile filmmaking. Brooke Leavitt created this very useful list of outstanding smartphone film festivals with a good summary of entry details, submissions and a bit of context.

4. Can we achieve greatness with our phones?

If you want to go further, your Smartphone can be a hero. There are several apps helping to save lives. First aid by Red Cross teaches vital knowledge and simple first aid skills in an emergency,  Stay Alive provides advice when experiencing suicidal thoughts, Breast Check Now makes checking easy to remember and gives useful information about signs and symptoms. And it’s not getting boring, even a video game can save your life.

From sensible things to silliness. You can do whatever you want with your mobile. Literally. The greatness starts within you and goes through your device. Not the other way around.


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