Over a two-day period, do the following:
DAY 1 – create a diary of when, why and what you use your mobile device for. Observe how others are using their mobile devices. What are the most common uses and where do you see these behaviors?
I spent most of my time on my phone chatting with other people. Be it discussing about organizational matter, assignments, or just informing about my well-being to my family and boyfriend. When I was idle, I would spend my time scrolling endlessly on social media to read random articles, news, and friends’ updates. In addition, I played Pokemon Go.
To navigate in the city, I used the GPS feature on my phone. It could tell me which was the nearest bus stop I was at, and when the next bus would come. Google map would also come in handy to tell me how to go to a foreign destination.
Other than that, I used alarm on my phone to wake me up in the morning. I also used my phone as my personal agenda.
After eating or buying something, I always key in my expenditure on an app. Sometimes, I used OCBC bank app to transfer funds or check my balance as well.
All in all, I felt that my life was consumed by my phone. I felt very anxious if I did not hold my phone and check it.
I took note of how other people used mobile phone, and here are some photos to show the behaviours:
DAY 2 – Do not use your phone, computer or electronic device for 24 hours. Create a diary documenting and describing the difference in your behavior patterns. How did you do the things you would normally do with your phone? What other alternative behaviors did you develop? What else did you notice about the difference in behavior?
I purposely set my no-phone-day on a weekend so I did not have to do my assignments and email people. The day before my abstinence day, I set a meeting time and place with my boyfriend so we would find each other easily. We did meet at the exact timing and place, and we reflected on the experience. It was about trust. Trust that the other person will indeed come according to appointment, without we having to track each other’s position prior to the meeting.
Next, since I could not access my phone to track time, I looked at my watch more often. I also relied on my analog alarm to wake me up in the morning.
I happened to have 2 seminars at different places on that day. I memorized the address the day before, and relied on my boyfriend who used his phone to navigate our way. If he weren’t present, maybe I would check on google map the day before, and trusted my instinct the next day to find my way.
Realizing that I could not key in my expenditure right after my action, I kept my receipts on my wallet. I also tried not to spend a lot so I did not have to memorize so many to be recorded the next day when I would have access to my phone.
Relation to others
- Prior to my experiment, I told my family who live overseas that I would not be able to be contacted for 24 hours. During the day without phone, I felt liberated for not having to inform about my whereabouts. (hehe).
- Any emails or chats that came that day, I replied the next day. Apparently, there were only 3 important chats that I needed to reply, out of around 15 spams.
- To kill time during travel, I tried to strike a conversation with a stranger. However, he casted his eyes back to his phone after a minute of short conversation.
- I observed that people on the bus or train usually always occupied themselves with something. Be it their phones, books, or their companies. People that could stand being alone doing nothing were usually the elderlies.
By not being able to access my phone, I was abled to observe my surrounding more. I saw the signages that I have never seen before, sceneries I never noticed, etc. This tallies with what Chapchise argued in his book “Hidden in Plain Sight” about illiteracy.
There are also moments when otherwise literate people function as if they were temporarily illiterate: when we forget, or we’re distracted, or we’re tired, or for any other reason that could cut off our ability to apply our mental capacity to something that requires some form of literacy. In that sense. a person walking across a street with a phone in hand is inherently partially sighted: either she’s looking at the screen or she’s looking at the vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but either way, she’s blind to one of those (page 202)