Observing and snapping photos of strangers isn’t really my cup of tea, therefore, I decided to observe the daily technology doings of my ‘glued-to-his-phone’ boyfriend. On a ‘once in a blue moon’ occasion, we both had the day off together with no errands to run or assessments to do. We decided to spend the day together in the city, shopping and having a nice lunch on the harbour. Sounds amazing, right? Wrong.
During our lunch, I looked up after taking a sip of wine to my boyfriend staring blatantly at his phone, checking the updates for the NRL game.
The thought of being on a a technology device in a public space when your with someone, whether it be a friend, partner, or anyone for that matter irks me. However, ironically, when alone in a public space I feel the need to flick through my phone to avoid social awkwardness. To try resolve this issue, I put myself to the test, waiting at the train station for 25 minutes would be an example of a time I would unconsciously pull out my phone and thumb the Instagram feed. Instead of pulling out my phone, however, I just sat there, alone, with nothing to do. I looked around to find a man reading a book, an elderly couple chatting away and another man just sitting there staring blankly at the platform. It was kind of relaxing for a few minutes, until I felt myself overcome with boredom and anxiety, and a feeling of being judged, so I pulled out my phone.
This social awkwardness has become the basis for the blur between what constitutes a private and public space. According to Badger, the public space, generally, can be defined as where we ‘come to know the other’. Or in layman’s terms, where we interact with other people in a physical space. The desperate need to cling to our mobile phones, however, has lead to sabotaging the ‘public’ in these public spaces (2012).
People are becoming so reliant on their mobile phones, that the ‘stranger interaction’ is becoming obsolete. There is no longer the need to ask a stranger for help, because you can find the answer on your mobile phone.
Our addiction to technology is undergoing a paramount shift, and is soon to be out of our hands. Soon enough, there won’t be any differences between private and public spaces.
Badger, E 2012, How Smart Phones Are Turning Our Public Spaces Into Private Ones, CityLab, viewed 4 September 2014, <http://www.citylab.com/tech/2012/05/how-smart-phones-are-turning-our-public-places-private-ones/2017/>.