Author Topic: Cell phone data consumption... and addictive behavior.  (Read 3208 times)


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Cell phone data consumption... and addictive behavior.
« on: September 27, 2012, 05:28:32 PM »
I've always been a computer nerd. I dropped the land line in 1999 and lived on dial up data until 2000 when I made the leap to cable modems. I understand the love for and temptation of data consumption, I've been the poster child. This article is really in keeping with MMM's recent post, "Is it Convenient? Would I Enjoy it? Wrong Question." ---

"Cellphones Are Eating the Family Budget"

People's surreal need for mobile data consumption has impacted both superfluous spending (steak dinners out once a week) to their basic grocery budget.  It really sounds like addictive behavior -- check out these quotes -- it just makes you want to FACE PUNCH these users:

  • "Every weekend, we'd do something," said Ms. Steffen, a registered nurse whose husband works at a tire shop. "Now maybe once every month or two, we get out."
  • Wireless carriers are betting they can pull bills even higher by offering faster speeds on expensive new networks and new usage-based data plans. The effort will test the limits of consumer spending as the draw of new technology competes with cellphone owners' more rudimentary needs and desires.
  • Ms. Tuers figures that she and her husband would need to scrape together more than $1,000 to pay full price for two new high-end phones or settle for one of Verizon's tiered-data plans, which she fears would cost a lot more given her video habit.

Well, at least the reader comments section sounds refreshingly Mustachian:
"How critical to a successful life for the average person is the need for instantaneous information?, A few hours wait to get to a PC or Mac is that crtitical? I doubt it."


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Re: Cell phone data consumption... and addictive behavior.
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 10:44:18 PM »
I noticed this article in my newsfeed earlier today. The addictive nature of technology is something that has concerned me for a while now, and it's one of the not so subtler driving forces behind some of the approaches I've taken with the communications guide and the advice I provide around these parts, especially emphasizing less dependence upon cellphones themselves.

Ultimately, this article should make us all take pause and ask why our society has so quickly become so addicted to these tiny little glowing blue rectangles that strip away all of our free time. There was a CNN article yesterday that interestingly dovetails into this very topic, and I find it quite relevant. The linked articles from it are very interesting reads as well:

Have smartphones killed boredom (and is that good)?

Here's a rather telling passage from the article:
"Informational overload from all quarters means that there can often be very little time for personal thought, reflection, or even just 'zoning out,' " researchers there wrote. "With a mobile (phone) that is constantly switched on and a plethora of entertainments available to distract the naked eye, it is understandable that some people find it difficult to actually get bored in that particular fidgety, introspective kind of way."

Williams, the Montreal blogger, admits as much.

"One thing that unfortunately I do miss out on is that sort of quiet time where I can think about something I want to write ... where, if I'm bored, I'm flipping open Word and punching something out," he said. "Instead, out comes 'Infinity Blade II' and I'm killing titans.

"Before smartphones came out, you had that down time where you sit on the bus and your mind just kind of wanders and you think of these amazing things. You get out that old thing called pen and paper and you jot it down."

These bills and behaviors with the devices clearly speak to addictive and destructive behaviors.

At one point in my life, I'd posited a theory that some people insist on talking so much for fear of being alone with their own thoughts. Now, I can't help but wonder if cell phones may be replacing that particular little quirk with some people. (Says the verbose guy. Ha!)

Anyway... just to heap onto the topic, let's bring back around the spend less time with the internet thread from here. If we truly are mustachian badasses, we need to sit up and recognize that we might not be using these technologies as simply tools, and that something far more might be driving us all. As many things in life, these items can be both a blessing and a curse, and it might be time to start asking where we are each sitting on those scales...


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Re: Cell phone data consumption... and addictive behavior.
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 06:26:53 AM »
This is one of the reasons why I've stuck to a prepaid SIM with my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S, the original one). I don't pay anything for data. I just pay for the ability to call and text. I only connect to the Internet if there's a free WiFI network available.  And even then, I find myself spending way, way too much time mindlessly browsing the Internet and refreshing social networks. Need to find more ways to self-medicate this addictive behavior...


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Re: Cell phone data consumption... and addictive behavior.
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 11:53:41 AM »
"It stinks," Mr. Boedy said. "I guess it's the cost of [being a sukkah in] modern-day America now."

This kind of "I'm the victim, it's not my fault" sentiment is really appalling to me.


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Re: Cell phone data consumption... and addictive behavior.
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 12:22:19 PM »
It's one of the reasons why - despite being a long-time computer nerd - I won't have a smart phone (at least not until they come with a decent keyboard and C compiler), and indeed, didn't even have a cell phone at all until AT&T jacked the price of my land line from $20/month to over $30.  (When a basic pay-as-you-go phone does all that I want for under $8/month.)