iPhone. From talisman to tool.

Its been a little while now since I dumped the last of my social media accounts.

One thing I have noticed is that my iPhone spends a lot more time in other places than my hands. In my bag. On a table. Somewhere else.

For the first few days, there was this habitual almost reflex urge to pick up my phone to check my feeds. This despite the fact I had no feeds to check.
I felt a constant urge to keep the iPhone close as some sort of social talisman, a protective amulet to ward off the fear of missing out, to capture my experiences ready for packaging and cultivation, and to provide that addictively magical dopamine hit of people acknowledging my existence.

Ian is currently having lunch in Westfield Woden (11 people like this).

A talisman is an object that someone believes holds magical properties that provide particular power, energy, and specific benefits to the possessor.


Sometimes I would find myself swiping through the screens looking for non-existent apps and feeling some sort of phantom social anxiety akin to the phantom limb pains that amputees might experience.

But the feeling dissipated (faster than you would imagine). Now my iPhone has become more of a tool. Something to pull out when I need to access information, check my calendar or contact friends in real-time… or, very occasionally, actually make a phone call.

Here are a couple of screenshots of my own toolsets. The first is my home screen. These are my most frequently accessed apps. The second is my travel screen. These are the apps I use most when travelling.
I’m happy to go into any of these in a little more detail if anyone is interested. Or if you have any app suggestions for me to add, please drop them in the comments.

Screenshots from my own iPhone.

As I have said many times, there are a lot of positive and really useful reasons to connect with others on social media. However, I feel the platforms themselves have devolved into the breeding grounds of everything antithetical to deeper social connectivity.

He wished he could somehow go back and find the iPhone people whom he’d jostled on the sidewalk earlier, apologize to them – I’m sorry, I’ve just realized that I’m as minimally present in this world as you are, I had no right to judge

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

It has been a great feeling to break the iPhone umbilical. To leave it in my bag disconnected from its FOMO bungee cord. I wondered if I would regret losing some of those positive aspects and cold turkey deleting my accounts. But no. Quite the contrary.

I have never felt more connected being disconnected.

Latest post from my other site: deathpoints.com

3 responses to “iPhone. From talisman to tool.”

  1. I am blissfully happy without Facebook in my life. I forgot to take my phone to work last Thursday. After an initial panic I realised what I use it for most is as a spellchecker.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have screenshot those apps as I haven’t heard of nearly all of them .
    I too have not cut the umbilical cord ..
    My son lost his wallet last week.. and I though” what would I rather lose, my wallet or my or my phone”
    Sad to say I would rather lose my wallet

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I envy the ability to disconnect, I am only minimally connected these days and can’t seem to make that complete break.
    Happy cow was the one app that intrigued, did an internet search, so now know what it is. Does it find restaurants that offer vegan/vegetarian options as well as traditional menu? I am always trying to find places to eat that keep both of us happy, since the other half is not a fan of plant based diet, feel like I am the one that makes the most compromise on that front, an app that would let me find places to eat that also offer what the other half wants would be good but realise that is probably not what happy cow is about.

    Liked by 1 person

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