Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. said in his commencement speech at Stanford University, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Jobs was a man like no other. Beyond his years, he journeyed where no entrepreneur or tycoon had gone. From the ground up, Jobs single-handedly transformed the computer and consumer electronic industry into one of the most monumental mass media empires in the world.
In his lengthy career spanning approximately 37 years, Jobs was widely renowned for his inconceivable contributions and revolutionary renditions made to Apple. After a heated power struggle with the board of directors, Jobs subsequently left Apple Inc. in 1985 to develop other computer platform companies. Jobs later returned to Apple as an advisor and eventually seized control of its operations as he nearly rescued the multinational conglomerate from bankruptcy in 1998. Jobs’ autocratic influence over Apple has often been cited as one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of business. While he was a highly competent inventor, he was a self-proclaimed philanthropist and he strongly emphasized learning, creativity, love, and humanity.
Jobs spoke gallantly at many schools and institutions to express these concepts, as he hoped to bring the stunning realization to the community that Apple’s products were design specifically with the intention to inspire and innovate. Jobs hoped to see Apple users become doers, believers, leaders and visionaries. He ultimately wanted to instill higher education and learning into his costumers as he pushed to steer the next generation into the fields of advertising and marketing, graphic design, computer science, entrepreneurship, and engineering. Jobs’ ingenuity and futurist mindset has fittingly established him as the charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution, and with that being said, he has carefully laid the groundwork for the communications industry.
Despite his contributions to communications studies, it has become apparent that the smartphones and tablet devices have separated us as human beings more than they have brought us together. What’s truly dividing us from relating to each other is not Angry Birds, Facebook, Twitter or Candy Crush, but our unforeseen abandonment of the most essential tool to our lives. I am generally referring to our natural ability to communicate with each other through interpersonal conversation. Human speech and communication has gargantuanly evolved entering the millennium. Mankind has witnessed our message travel through various mediums. From Alexander Graham Bell’s benevolent contrivance of the telephone to Mark Zuckerberg’s socially-adept Facebook, communication has come a long way from carrier pigeons, telegrams and messenger horses. Thanks to newfangled instruments such the iPhone and Galaxy 4S, we have enhanced our ability to communicate over unimaginable lengths with just a click of a button.
Although the telephone is the great equalizer of time and space, it has so recently deteriorated the very fabric of human interaction. While the smartphone is highly advanced and simply ahead of its time, its 4G capabilities have merely crippled our productivity as its needless software has become a great distraction to its obsessive consumers. Its universal popularity has, in fact, led to the decline of face to face conversation we are commonly associated to.
Now before you quickly crumble up your issue of The Quad and curse me out for lambasting smart technology, allow me to make myself perfectly clear – I do not hate smart devices. In fact, I love smart technology. I happen to own an iPhone 4S and in my two years of ownership, it has done nothing but wonders. I am proud to say it has been one of the most accessible pieces of machinery I ever purchased. I enjoy using the iPhone and its advantages such as setting an itinerary, connecting with friends and family over social networks, communicating with others fast and efficiently, and comfortably listening to music in my travels. Unlike my peers, I consider myself an introvert as I try my best to keep my data usage to a minimum. The people I closely surround myself with such as my friends and family are far more integral than a heartless machine.
That being said, smartphone users who frequently abuse its usage and ignore their surroundings are primarily associated with the miscommunications we see in society today. Call me old fashioned, but when someone whips out their iPhone in the middle of a discussion, I find that unquestionably rude. Jobs designed this technology to better the consumer ultimately with the objective of developing successful optimistic individuals willing to take on the world. Jobs’ conception of the smartphone was created principally for users to communicate with others from great distances, gather substantial research and information through its internet capabilities, and lastly keep the user occupied during times of personal leisure. Instead, we enter a family restaurant in which we painfully witness an ill-prepared married couple with two or three children all glued to their tablet devices in unjustifiable silence only to resume conversation until their meal arrives. Not only do I view the following as poor parenting, but it is a prime example of inexcusable social behavior.
When smartphones are regularly utilized, they create an array of problems. The purpose of going out with family and friends whether to a local diner or a bar is simply to enjoy each other’s company. We go to places like Applebee’s primarily to engage in warm conversation, unwind with a tall beverage and half-price appetizers, and escape from our ever-tedious days at work. Unfortunately you cannot walk into a place of recreation without seeing some sort of a mobile device in plain eyesight. It is almost as if the smartphone users are so content on playing online games and updating their Facebook statuses that they lose touch with reality. If people are so hooked on their smartphones and do so choose to neglect their friends, why even bother to go out in public? Why even show up for an night on the town if you can’t keep your phone in your pocket?
The fact of the matter is as long as the smartphone remains a hot commodity, users will never surrender their devices for the sake of their company. The overall appeal of smartphones may stem from its flashy appearance and convoluted embodiment. Unlike standard cellular devices, smartphones are strikingly complex to outsiders. While its touchscreen functions are state of the art, the 4G device is self-indulging. The smartphone not only has a long obnoxiously-large screen, but it is encompassed with mindless applications designed specifically for entertainment purposes.
To the smartphones’ credit, entertainment is a component extremely important to our livelihood. It keeps us stimulated when we are bored out of our skulls, it provides with a source solace when we are alone, and finally, it allows us access to the internet with great ease as the World Wide Web is a haven of scholarly knowledge and groundbreaking news. The entertainment aspect of the smartphone, however, can be improperly utilized when a group of patrons at a bar decide to play Angry Birds instead of focusing on the conversation conducted by another individual. In numerous ways, smartphones are widely considered a “cop-out” in re
gards to social events and gatherings. The conventions of the smartphone may be the epitome of antisocialism. The investment of the smartphone is purely time-consuming as it compares to the graphic nonsense found in video games and reality television programs. In the 1986 film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the titular character played famously by Matthew Broderick exclaims, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Broderick’s character strongly correlates with the adolescent spirit we have come to recognized in ourselves time after time. The people who get up bright and early and begin their day looking at the glass half full, who arrange an evening at an authentic Italian bistro for a bottle of wine and good company, who attend parties and sporting events to support their heroes and loved ones, those are people who come with zero attachments. The more time you spend fiddling with your phone the more you miss out on life. If we were to erase our applications altogether, we would have basic cellular phones used only to make calls. The absence or disablement of the smartphone application would certainly become an eye-opening experience. Dr. Philip Thompsen of West Chester University’s communications department suggested that his class should consider the option of going cold turkey for a day to understand their habits. If we cut down our usage and shift our focus towards alternative sources of entertainment such as sports and games ,maybe we could improve our methods of interpersonal communication.
Drew Mattiola is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at

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