It was 5.30am when she hit the street with her earphones on. Light was beginning to shove darkness away. Panting, and with her mind fixated on her weight loss strategy, her feet hit the ground in quick succession, even as she regaled her mind with music from her Blackberry phone, using her earphones for convenience purpose.
Thirty minutes later, she got back home, her eyes wet and her face soiled with sadness. She had been robbed while jogging. There were too many things on the phone to just let go. Her mails, chats with friends, pictures of places, events, herself and so many other things were all gone in a jiffy. Each time she remembered something she needed on the phone, she relapsed into sorrow. It took weeks to pull her out of that mood.
The phone meant a lot to her. She is not alone, as our mobile phones are the perfect new media tool for this age, given the ease it offers us in the use of various apps we can store on them. Mobile phones are the new proxies to mortals, often times taking on dozens of tasks on their behalf. It has helped improve efficiency and it has helped us stay always connected with those we wish to remain in contact with while we move around.
Mobile phones are the new agents and personal assistants acting on our behalf. Our phones are progressively becoming extensions of us and they tell a lot about our personality. In times when they do not, our use of them helps others know too many things about us and it does in a short while.
Step out into a crowded place and let your eyes soak in the relationship between humans and phones. Someone is talking on the phone, gesticulating to show anger; another is texting and smiling; then there’s the other group trying to take pictures with the phone. What we have now is possibly a case of ‘give me your phone, let me scroll through and I will tell you who you are.’ Our phones are our new identities. The kind of apps we have on them tell one the kind of things that piques the phone owner. Our collection of music on the phone also tells a lot about the kind of things that entertain us. And since our phones are also the perfect access to the web today, a check through a phone’s browsing history would hint at the kind of website the user visits and the kind of interests the user has.
Our call history is also a perfect way to know who the most important people in our lives are. The traits these people have will influence the way the owner of the phone also thinks and acts. This is so since we naturally gravitate towards the attributes of those we spend time with and around. Their ideas and mannerisms gradually slip into ours. It is a simple concept of who has your “ear time!”
Our phones hold text messages ranging from relationship-related ones to banking transaction details and other personal information. Isu Media Limited, earlier this year, shared with an audience a research result about how “going through mobile phones” has been cited as the most common way cheating was discovered in a relationship.
According to the poll, going through mobile phone ranked 41 per cent, going through social media account was 23 per cent, going through files on PC/laptop/tablet had 13 per cent; “caught in the act” was 11 per cent and other means followed. Since social media accounts are now mostly accessed from the phone, it translates that 64 per cent of people polled discovered their partner was cheating by simply looking through their phone(s).
When in a place and you itch to know the person seated next to you, just hope he or she gets a phone call. Chances are that if the person is not discretionary enough, you will know too much about the person too soon. A friend shared with me how his perception of a religious leader he had always had reverence for changed. He was in a nearby room and the religious figure was on the phone discussing business with someone and using profane words, cursing and threatening as it seemed the person on the other end of the line had defaulted on an earlier arrangement.
Beyond just what the phone we have holds, its use in public is also something to watch. Barking loudly on the phone in public announces our personality to people. Even low decibel private discussion on the phone in public tells people around us who we are. If the connection is bad, it’s rather appropriate to redial; and if the environment is not ideal for the conversation in mind, it’s just fine to tell the caller you are in public and would either call later or simply send a text message in response.
For young people who, in their feral moments, also prefer to have pictures of themselves and friends taken with their clothes off, there is the need for extreme caution. A buddy related to me how he found nude pictures of some familiar faces in the neighbourhood on a phone repairer’s system. The barely literate ‘engineer’ explained he copied out the images while repairing their phones. Even when they are not information of such extremities, there’s the need to understand that our phones are like our diaries and we need to check and be sure who we give them to and always back up the information elsewhere in case of theft or loss.
When we sell our old phones, we need to realise that resetting or deleting the information is not enough again. There are softwares that can be used to restore the deleted information. President Bush’s former cyber security adviser, Howard Schmidt, once said of it that “people are just not aware how much they’re exposing themselves; this is more than something you pick up and talk on. This is your identity. There are people really looking to exploit this.” So, who does your phone really say you are?
In my last week’s article entitled, ‘As social network flogs the English language,’ I speciously ascribed the first dictionary in the world to Noah Webster when, in fact, it was Samuel Johnson in 1755. Webster’s dictionary was the first American dictionary. The error is regretted. The article also triggered discussions; one of such was from Ademola Adesola.
He wrote, ‘I wish to differ with you on your view of what today’s young people do to the English Language. They don’t ‘flog’ (this is a generous and soft capturing) the language, they horribly massacre it. They violate its sanctity unconscionably.
“I still doubt whether anybody gets better in the use of a particular language when all they do most often is to corrupt it, badly deploy its resources … Check their abbreviations — they are unintelligent and disgusting to any mind that enjoys reading elegant prose. Check also their understanding of the nature of the words they terribly massacre — it’s shallow and uninspiring.” You got it correctly; mechanical inaccuracies stifle their unchallenging views. I will continue this advocacy. If we destroy our own indigenous languages through lack of use, we should not do same to the colonial tongue through bad usage or subversive creativity.
Photo Source: navarrowwright.com
Sola Fagorusi is a creative writer, social media buff, entrepreneur, and columnist. He tweets via @SolaFagro