Adam Chapman

He Who Lives By The Phone, Dies By The Phone

Phone addiction is becoming an epidemic amongst many of us in modern times. Indeed the damage constantly scrolling through multiple timelines or playing “Just one more level” on the latest game to hit the app store can have upon mental health is often the subject of debate on tv or in newspapers alike. 

However, today I want to talk to you about a different kind of behaviour to do with our little pocket computers that just rubs me the wrong way, overuse of the camera. 

This can be broken down into two categories, and luckily phone design makes this easier to tell which of the cardinal sins someone is breaking.

The first is selfies, I swear, through the help of social media, I’ve seen every second of someone’s night out through the constantly uploaded selfies. Jesus H Christ, what is the thought pattern behind this sort of digitalised photo taking vomit? Here’s a picture of my face, here’s another picture of my face at a different angle, here’s a picture of my face with someone else’s face next to it, here’s one more picture of my face with the tip of a wine glass. I don’t know whose lives they believe they are enriching by sharing all this with the world but evidently, the one or two likes is enough to keep them going. 

This might sound kind of dark but is this some vague attempt to make sure there’s enough images of their face out there to make sure if they ever go missing they can be identified from any angle or so that each and every news channel/newspaper has an individual image that they can use? There has to be something going on here, there’s no way that the world needs to see 50+ pictures of someone’s face from January 28th when all they did is go for a coffee. 

Sure, like most I’ve been partial to the odd selfie here and there but this is normally because there’s something going on that warrants it, like my attempts to grow a moustache raising money for Movember or when I somehow contracted the mumps in 2018. My face had changed rather dramatically from the norm and thus it felt like it was necessary to get photographic evidence. 

It just doesn’t seem needed half the time, I honestly remember about a year ago from writing this I saw someone had taken a selfie at a funeral, I mean come on, is that really an appropriate time? “RIP Grandad but damn I’m looking fire in my black suit, #KillingIt #KillingMyLookNotMyGrandad” 

This is the sort of behaviour you indulge in when you’re a teenager with a fancy new phone and an ever crippling desire for attention, not when you’re in your mid 20s or above. Maybe it’s a self consciousness thing and if it is, then this surely isn’t helping but worse is that maybe it is just the sign of an ever growing ego, truly believing that the world needs to see you this often. Whatever the case, this is something that surely needs to be sorted by your society solving superheroes here at The Bickering Press but we shall get to solutions after I bring to light sin number 2.

Number two is the flip side of the phone, the back camera. This is more just a lack of understanding rather than a calling out of egocentric character flaws but here we go.

In my time on this here earth I’ve often frequented events such as live music gigs. The memories of seeing some of my favourite bands and artists who have become iconic to me shall live with me until the day I die and someone takes a selfie at my funeral. I can remember the pure adrenaline fuelled excitement of being in the crowds, forgetting the world for a few hours, totally encapsulated by the performances only to look to my right and realise the guy on the outskirts of the crowd hasn’t lowered his phone for the entire set. 

I’ve also noticed such behaviour at football matches, firework displays and any other big event you can think of and as previously mentioned I don’t understand the thinking behind this.

Recording every second of an event to show to people who aren’t there seems alien to me, you’re sacrificing your own connection to the event to what? Show off on social media a few hours later? Because let’s be honest, nobody is watching a full gig back filmed through a phone, the distorted sound and washed out visuals, it’s not exactly pleasant. 

My thoughts on this are similar to the selfie sin, if you were truly involved with your surroundings, if you were truly having a memorable time, surely you wouldn’t need to film every second of it. It’s a strange detachment that I feel drags someone out of the situation. 

As much as I’m concerned that I am the odd one out here as this seems to be an increasingly common practice, I’m going to suggest a way we can curb the camera crisis. I’m not going to go full iron fist and demand that this be banned outright but I am going to suggest a tally system.

For each event, that being grabbing a pint or a coffee, going to a gig or god forbid a funeral, each person is allowed 5 selfies and 30 seconds of footage. This should hopefully keep phones in pockets, eyes on each person’s surroundings and attention on the here and now.

This may be unpopular at first and no doubt by writing this I’ve opened myself up to chants of hypocrite but with only between 20-30 photos of me since moving to Liverpool around 2 and a half years ago I’m well within the allocated photo allowance.

If more photos or videos are required then here’s good news for anyone who studied photography at university, you’ll have to hire professional photographers for each and every photo. It’ll be a sort of pay as you go system or “pay as you photo” (the name needs some work). Ultimately this should make people think about if they REALLY need that 6th selfie before the taxi has even arrived to take them to town. 

It might seem harsh but desperate times call for desperate measures and if you’re not a fan you’ve still got your 5 selfies to express your displeasure. See, it’s not all bad.