As a Macbook user I was always hesitant about getting an iPhone because I didn’t want to become a “Mac Guy.” You know who I am talking about, the kind of person who makes it their life mission to persuade people Apple makes the greatest products in the world while wearing a black turtleneck and drinking a venti Chai Latte.
However when my phone contract ended in June I finally gave in and traded my Samsung Galaxy I for an iPhone 4s…the moment it was turned on I knew there was absolutely no going back. Suddenly I became one of those people whose phones become a permanent extension of their hand and respond to noises closely resembling a notification ring like Pavlov’s dog respond to a bell.
That was till a few weeks ago….
It was just a simple five-mile run on Monday morning, I had done it dozens of times before, and the fact that it came after a rest day made the weeks first run really easy. But that morning less than a half-mile in I tripped on a curb and fell on the sidewalk, in a second I was back up (hoping nobody saw me embarrass myself) but my beloved iPhone had a massive crack along the screen. After trying to use it that way for a week I finally broke down and decided to have the screen replaced. So this morning my iPhone was left with a shop and they told me to come back in about half an hour.
It was the longest forty-five minutes of my life…
After walking around the mall four times, getting a coffee at Starbucks, going to get some things from my car only to spend ten minutes walking around the parking lot then realizing my car was at the another parking area on the other side of the mall, walking to the correct space and finding my car, listening to the radio, and shopping for iPhone cases forty-five minutes had passed; but they needed at least fifteen more minutes. So after twelve minutes staring at the digital clock in the food court my phone was good as new, and I tweeted about the experience immediately.
Later I started to wonder why a simple hour without my cell phone felt like an eternity. Psychologists and educators are referring to this type of panic as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which makes perfect sense for teenagers who have a vibrant social life, but not for Missionaries whose idea of having a good time is playing a board game with friends. My cold sweats came from not being able to communicate with people about what was happening.
I know that sounds ridiculous but for many people (myself included) social media is our community. The place where we share prayer requests and praises, tell jokes, vent frustrations, ask for advice, and offer help to those in need. Initially this began because my main group of friends where in the United States but over time things like Facebook and Twitter became a preferred source of communication because it was just easier than calling someone or (gasp) having a conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, things like social media give us many opportunities to connect with one another in meaningful ways and continue developing relationships when we cannot get together in person. But we can easily become addicted to that form of communication which results in not having it for one hour bringing on serious withdraw symptoms.
I am very thankful to have my iPhone back and now carry it in a case that could survive a bomb blast while running. But in a way I am thankful for the hour away from it that reminded me just how addictive using social media as our community can be.