Ever since I first held that gleaming box of technology that connected me to thousands of other people, it’s rarely left my death like clutch. It’s the last thing I look at before going to sleep and the first thing I pick up in the morning. It has become an extension of me.
It’s the reason my friends and family roll their eyes while telling me I’m addicted, and they’re right, I most definitely have an unhealthy relationship with my phone.
But is this admission of ‘guilty as charged’ going to change anything? Absolutely not!
Through my phone and social media my world instantly expands to reach every corner of the globe in ways I can’t physically achieve.
I have some amazing friends from New York, Boston, Brazil, The Caribbean, Canada and Australia. I talk to them every day, know what’s going on in their lives and care about them. I met them all on Twitter.
I have a fitness family that keeps me updated on the latest workouts and food ideas. We share training programmes and keep each other motivated. I met them all on Instagram.
Facebook is my glorified address book that keeps me in touch with friends and family as the years scatter us across the globe.
Snapchat holds me to people I don’t necessarily have extended conversations with, but the quick pictures that flow between us keeps the barriers of communication open in ways that would have previously closed.
Every app on my phone serves a purpose and enables me to communicate with people who would never normally enter my life. Because suddenly I’m having conversations with people who are so much older than me and for us to be friends in reality is frowned upon. But their minds are thrilling and they’re some of the best conversation I have. I’m chatting to mums and grandmothers who give me some of the best advice, but their children and families mean we would never have time to have those conversations in reality. My phone has changed the game and it’s rewriting the rules of socially acceptable interaction. It’s utterly brilliant and never fails to amaze me.
I lay in bed last night, unable to sleep, waiting for the dawn as the rest of my world slept. I was alone and just one person. In that moment my world was the confines of my bedroom and the deadly silent streets outside. I picked up my phone and instantly the world opened to my fingertips.
I opened Snapchat and watched people dancing at the New Orleans JazzFest. Saw who won the Supercross in New Jersy and watched life pass me by in Delhi.
I opened Twitter and laughed at the witticisms that were flying between my friends. Saw what was trending in that moment and knew what thousands of other people were talking about in that instant. It was small snapshots into the million other lives being lived and suddenly it wasn’t just me anymore.
There’s a huge world out there, and previously we haven’t been given such unlimited access to it, but my phone drops me into every corner of it. That’s not something I ever want to give up or moderate. We’ve outgrown sitting in a room with a few friends and family members – we’ve evolved past that.
We tweet, post, snap, like and share because it’s no longer enough to be part of our immediate, physical worlds. We want, and need, to be part of something bigger.