Are mobiles the new cigarettes?

smokerSo I’m in this bar, and I notice this guy just hanging out by himself. He looks a bit older than most of the people milling about. He’s not talking to anyone, not looking at anyone. But he doesn’t look uncomfortable, or out of place. In fact, he looks like he’s doing something important.

Cause he’s looking at his phone.

I’ve never been a smoker, but something about cigarettes has always fascinated me. They seemed to give people a reason to be anywhere. If you were hanging out by yourself in a bar or whatever, that was just weird. But if you were hanging out smoking, well you were smoking. Its like you were doing something, like the whole action had a weird importance to it. Cigarettes gave you a reason to be anywhere.

Now mobiles seem to have acquired a similar sort of status. Now there’s any reason why you’d spend any amount of time standing around looking at your phone. Not even talking on it, just looking at it. It says “I’m busy”, or more importantly, “other people are talking to me”. You’re doing something useful. Something important. 

Mobiles. Saving everybody from awkward moments of social inadequacy.

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3 Responses to “Are mobiles the new cigarettes?”


  1. 1 Mark Pollard November 17, 2008 at 11:58 am

    You got me! Did this the other day while I was waiting for some people in a pub. Feels odd just standing somewhere, solo, in a place designed for the social. What’s your take on business meetings and mobiles?

  2. 2 otsmeister November 18, 2008 at 7:15 am

    I reckon for business meetings it has the opposite effect – it makes you look like you have something better/more important to do. Could be seen as a bit of a snub, even if you are just multitasking.

  3. 3 Ross January 6, 2009 at 5:28 am

    Guilty! Mobiles have also replaced the 80’s car key chain. After pulling up a stool in your favorite wine bar it was the *BMW or *Porsche keys on the bar top. The phones replaced this status symbol and gives us a whole new object to be pigeoned holed.

    *too young to have been this tool flaunting yuppy toys but you get the idea.


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