7 Ways Smartphones Have Changed Us


Life’s definitely changed since the invention of the… sorry, my smartphone just vibrated.

Here’s 10 things we used to do before we all carried those small, expensive, annoying and often life-changing devices in our pockets.

1. We gave people our full attentions.

In the pre-smartphone days, people could have conversations together and give their full attentions to the other person… without a niggling feeling they were missing or forgetting something.

“Mom and Dad are talking about divorce, yeah it’s important but… did I just hear a bleep? Maybe someone retweeted me…”

In the old days, this would only occur if someone was a new parent, concerned for their little bundle of joy, someone paranoid they’d left the oven on, or a smoker jonesing for their next cigarette.

2. We sometimes didn’t know things.



“The guy from that film… oh, what’s his name?”

Sure, computers had already made huge paper compendiums of information a thing of the past, but maybe, just maybe, when a question was stuck in our heads we’d have to wait all of a couple of hours to google the answer on a computer.

Now, we’re checking the answers on our smartphones before we’ve even had the chance to scratch our heads.

“Ah! Billy Bob Thornton.”

3. We often… got lost.



Figuring out how to get from 4th Street to 10th Street used to involve a little bit of mental math… and some of those pocket maps made you ask yourself: “How big do they think my pockets are?”

Now, we just use the GPS and mapping service on our phones to find out (almost) exactly where we are and where we need to go. “But,” I hear you say, “That ruins our natural orientation skills.” Yes, getting lost sometimes can be fun… but sometimes it’s really not.

4. We had to make plans and stick to them.



Now, meeting with friends is as easy as texting “were r u?”

It never used to be this way. Previously, we had to explicitly arrange times and places to meet either in person or over the phone which, when dealing with large groups of people, could often get confusing.

Being late might’ve ended in a broken friendship or two, and falling behind on plans might’ve meant a few desperate phone calls to whatever bar you’d arranged to meet in.

5. We used land line telephones.



These ‘immobile’ telephones were often the only quick way to contact the world outside of your (parents’) house.

This meant you were often sat in on a Saturday night waiting for a call to come. And, if that call finally came, you ran the risk of everyone in the house overhearing you, eavesdropping in on your conversation via a second (or third or forth) handset, or ‘accidentally’ cutting you off.

6. We carried things called “cameras” and “watches.”



These gadgets, worn on the wrist or round the neck, helped us make sense of the pre-smartphone world.

While there was always a fashion element to watches, they were also practical devices for telling the time. Now, however, they’re carried by far fewer people and their purpose is purely ornamental. Cameras these days are reserved solely for the enthusiast.

7. We had things called “memories.”



“Have you watched that film? Was it good?”, “Yeah, IMDB gave it 7.8/10” is a typical conversation in the modern day world.

Remembering things used to be a part of life – whether it was people’s names and phone numbers, bar and restaurant locations and names, or even our opinions on things.

Scientists have even hypothesized that humans are actually using the internet as an extension of their own memory – like a huge, external hard drive. Maybe we’re neglecting the perfectly good USB memory stick we always had – our brains.

Can you remember the time before the smartphone? What was it like? Let us know in the comments!