Cell phones have become an indispensable addition to our existence. Besides actually making a call, we can access books, music and movies on them. I refer to the time before cell phones as BCP. So …
Cell phones have become an indispensable addition to our existence. Besides actually making a call, we can access books, music and movies on them. I refer to the time before cell phones as BCP. So BCP, I would wake up, make a cup of coffee and turn on the television to catch the weather report and news. But now, even before I get out of bed, I reach for my cell phone which is always at arm’s length, to check my emails, texts and voicemails.
After breakfast and suppressing the urge to join the masses playing Wordle, I grab my trusty cell phone and sign on to Facebook. Once logged on, I extend birthday greetings, quickly peruse the never-ending pictures of what my friends ate for dinner and comment on some postings. Then it is time for me to turn on the computer and write.
As the computer comes alive, I grab my cell phone and open the app called “Notes.” As a comedian and writer, I learned a long time ago that if you do not keep a record of ideas, you stand a chance of forgetting them. Jerry Seinfeld wrote a book entitled “Is This Anything?” where he included images of his handwritten notes that developed into his stand-up routines.
Every time I have an idea for a column, invention, script or book, I make an entry in my “Notes” app, so I will not forget it. But that leads me to the technology conundrum. Cell phones are useful, but studies indicate that using search engine apps are having a negative effect on memory.
Remember BCP, when you and your friends would try to remember things such as “Who was the actor who helped Paul Newman eat all those eggs?” and “What was the name of the movie?” Everybody would make guesses and eventually someone would shout out “George Kennedy and Cool Hand Luke.” Without the modern technology we have today, you had to exercise the brain and search your memory. But in today’s world, there is no need to probe your memory when you can utilize search engines.
For many of us, we slowly began to not rely on memory when a search engine called “Ask Jeeves” popped up on the internet in 1997. There were other earlier search engines such as Yahoo but somehow, I did not get hooked until the internet butler named Jeeves took my inquiries. But soon, he was forced into retirement. If you want to know why, you can “Google it.”
In 1998 the big gorilla of search engines emerged. Google stepped into the internet and soon dominated the search engine domain. Today, Google has a 92% share of the worldwide search engine market. It has become part of our lexicon. If you need to know anything, just “Google it!”
I think that soon studies will show that increased use of our “smart phones” led to our diminishing smartness. We are addicted to them. Here are a few statistics. In America, over 60% of us check their cell phones within 10 minutes of waking up. Numerous studies show that we check our phones between 100 and 300 times a day.
For me, I get an uneasy feeling if I forget my cell phone when leaving the house as do over 70% of Americans. Usually, the last thing I do before going out is tap my pocket to make sure my phone is there. It gives me a sense of security to know that it is with me. It is like that character with the security blanket in the “Peanuts” comics. You know about whom I am talking. Good old what’s-his-name. If his name is on the “tip of your tongue” take a minute and Google it. I’ll wait.
Problem solved. Of course, it is Linus who always carries his security blanket. As soon as it popped up on Google your memory was jogged. In fact, you might then have thought of Charlie Brown, the main character in Charles Schulz’s famous comic strip. But do you know how Charlie got his name? If you are interested, you know how to search for it.
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