Martine Rolls: Life without my smartphone


Sometimes I wish smartphones didn't exist. I wake each day at about 6am and the first thing I do is check my phone.

I can't count the times during the day, and after hours, that I get my phone out and have a quick look to see if anyone has commented on one of the stories on bayofplentytimes.co.nz, or if there are some interesting new things on Twitter or Facebook.

If I had to add up the time I spend on the net, regardless of which device I use, I'd probably be shocked by the total.

I often talk about stepping away from the web, but I hardly ever do.

There was a slight issue with my phone so I sent it away for repair - but not until I had triple-checked with the repair man and the courier that I would have it back as soon as humanly possible.

Once I had handed the parcel over to the courier my heart sank a little.

How long is this going to take?

How am I going to survive this?

Would I miss an important call?

Or perhaps someone would send me a very private text while the phone was in the hands of a technician I have never met?

How embarrassing would that be?

But that evening, to my surprise, a great sense of peace came over me.

There was no bleeping, no texting, no scrolling.

I decided not to use the computer or the iPad either for a night, and the TV stayed off as well.

It was just me, having an early night, cuddled up in bed in my comfy gear with a book and a pot of tea.

The only thing that slightly worried me was that I wouldn't wake up in time for work the next morning because I use the phone as my alarm.

At the time of writing, my phone hasn't been returned yet, but I'm not too worried if it takes a day longer than expected.

I'm quite happy to keep the peace for a little longer as I know I'll be checking it non-stop again the moment I get it back.

Sometimes, I also wish Facebook didn't exist.

One of those days came last week when someone posted a comment on my wall and others started asking me what all that was about.

It then took a good part of an hour to explain things to people and to enlighten others that it was okay.

It was all so innocent, but it irritated me that there are people in my friends' lists who are so quick to judge and to assume things.

Once people stick their noses in, matters can head into a completely different and unwanted direction.

It's a bit like the real world, really.

There is so much negativity out there. That day I understood better why people decide to pull their Facebook page off the web altogether.

You may think that I am lucky to be allowed to scroll around Facebook and Twitter in the boss' time, but using social media for work purposes has its challenges as well.

It can take a lot of time to guide things back in the right direction when someone out there decides to disrupt a fairly harmless discussion.

I still have faith in the power of Facebook and can handle the comment functionality on our website.

They are effective tools to interact with people, even though moderation and gentle guidance is often needed.

It's your news and your opinions that matter and our new-look website has opened up a great online platform for this.

We know that there are plenty of people with strong and seasoned opinions in our region, and that's why we are about to launch another regular feature on the website.

It will be called "Your View" and it will regularly have a new and sizzling topic for you to comment on.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I'm getting myself into yet, but do look out for it in the opinion section.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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