Could you QUIT Whatsapp?
it’s been 17 years since the first 3310 and nokia is re-releasing the iconic handset, raising the question: could we now live without our smartphones? look’s lucy tries swapping instagram for predictive text
ÔYou don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.’ I said this to an ex-boyfriend (cringe) when I was 17, two months after he cheated on me, when I was living my best life and he was wallowing in regret. Now I’m eating my words, because last week I cheated too. I downgraded my beloved iphone for an old-school Nokia. Gulp. When asked a few weeks ago to swap my smartphone for a Nokia 3310 – the phone of the 90s – for a few days, I didn’t sweat. The Nokia may not have Whatsapp, Instagram or the luxury of maps, but how hard could it be? Er, very. I didn’t think I relied on my iphone that much (despite my friends, family and boyfriend disagreeing vehemently) but it turns out I do and it wasn’t exactly plain sailing. Unsurprising when it’s recently been revealed that 84 per cent of us admitted to not being able to spend one day without our phone, 94 per cent of Brits would rather give up sex than their mobile and just under half of millennials, if faced with the choice, would rather lose their car. It probably goes without saying that the entire week was a tragic struggle…
MONDAY Coping level: 7/10 Morning: I’m calm. Sort of. I reach for my iphone 11 times in four hours and on the 10th occasion, I worry I’m losing the plot. Unsurprisingly, my contacts haven’t transferred, so I add the essentials. Trying to be like Ed Sheeran (who doesn’t own a phone), I write a Facebook post telling mates to reach me by email. Someone smart comments: ‘Can’t I message you on here?’ Afternoon: I get my phone out in the lift at work and totally forget how embarrassing it is that I’m actually pretending to be busy on a Nokia 3310 – the only tools it has to procrastinate with are the Snake game and a two megapixel camera (my smartphone has a 12 megapixel camera by comparison). I’m stuck between not knowing how to turn it onto silent and being terrified it might ring while I’m still in the lift. I put it away ASAP and wonder what I’ve signed myself up to.
WEDNESDAY Coping level: Started as 9/10, ended as a 2/10 Morning: I aim to get into work early to start the meeting prep I usually do on my iphone during my commute. Instead, I end up having a meltdown after my train is cancelled and I’m forced to read a Tube map because I can’t plan my route on my phone. I arrive late for our 10am meeting, which I haven’t even prepped for. Afternoon: It’s around this time I usually have a little meme break, but not today. Then, something happens that floors me and I crack. My friend messages me while I’m out of the office telling me I need to get on Facebook ASAP to see which couple from our secondary school has just announced they’re having a baby (social media emergency, obvs). I’m allowed one break, surely? Somewhere between sitting on a park bench and frantically trying to get the SIM card out
FRIDAY Coping level: 5/10 Morning: I’m starting to get used to staring into space on the train instead of listening to a podcast – and I actually make a lot of life decisions (wanting a dog, planning a trip). My phone rings (for the first time since I started this experiment) and I almost don’t know what to do. How do I answer it again? It’s my mum, asking why she can’t ‘see me’ on the Find My Friends app. Afternoon: I leave the office to get lunch and my manager sends me an MMS picture message of a newly posted photo of Cheryl’s Tweedy’s hair. This is usually the kind of thing I would be all over, but as I don’t have Instagram or Twitter (never mind alerts) on the Nokia, I’ve been metaphorically living under a rock all week. I try to open the picture, but it isn’t compatible and the Nokia starts having a meltdown because I’m receiving multiple messages within 10 seconds. It won’t stop vibrating. I suddenly realise I’m standing in the middle of the street taking 15 minutes to reply to her text – and people are looking. I shuffle back into the office. SATURDAY Coping level: 1/10 Morning: My social media emergency on Wednesday has triggered a chain of Whatsapp breaks twice a day. As it’s the weekend, I double it to four. I’m feeling like a huge failure, but also can’t resist reading the Love Island gossip, so I’m not even sorry. I feel as though I haven’t been in touch with my friends in a year and suddenly have an overwhelming feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Afternoon: I log into Facebook on my laptop and notice that my friend’s posted a status selling Ed Sheeran tickets. And tagged me in it. Five hours ago. Later – and once I’m over the Ed trauma – Whatsapp breaks turn into Instagram breaks while out having drinks with the girls. When I reach my fourth glass, I don’t bother switching back to the Nokia and post as many Instagram stories as I physically can.
VERDICT Let’s be honest: without Whatsapp, Instagram and Google Maps, it’s tough. Turns out I rely on my smartphone for everything. But I did spend less time on a screen and I was forced to have more actual conversations because my face wasn’t always in my phone. Plus I rang people and talked to my mum properly for the first time in ages instead of just texting. Oh, and guilty pleasure: I love playing Snake. Am I converted? No, but I might start introducing daily smartphone breaks from now on.
Look’s Lucy Devine
How did people travel before they had apps?! of the Nokia, I realise I’m verging on addiction. We’re all addicted to our smartphones