Married to your phone? What is love for some is a forced marriage for many
Residents of the city that never sleeps -- or turns off its tech gadgets -- scoffed at the results of a new study revealing that Americans spend an average of 58 minutes a day on their smartphones.
"Oh, please. I'm on it all day. Are you kidding me?" said Kim Freeman, 37, a customer service rep from the South Bronx about the study by Experian Marketing Services. "I spend 58 minutes an hour on it!" Spencer Markinson, 24, a tech job headhunter, said of his iPhone.
Globalization and technology have sharpened competition and eliminated the eight-hour work day, with personal and professional lives inextricably entwined together in one's phone, explained Markinson, who lives on the Upper West Side.
In vetting job candidates, he expects a response to an email or text within an hour. Taking longer "is either a sign of disrespect or shows (a candidate) may not be up to date with technology," he said. "I can't work with people who don't respond quickly," because employers prize immediacy, he said.
"You could literally lose $10,000 if you don't have your phone," added Shannone Holt, a model who lives in the Financial District and takes her iPhone to bed and the bathroom. If a designer puts out a call for models, "whoever gets there fastest has a better chance of booking the job," Holt said.
We are complicit in our dependency on palm-sized devices because we find the promise of new information and opportunities popping up in our pocket "enchanting," said Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University. Smartphones "are not just devices of employment torture, but have games and let you order a blouse or text your friends," he said.
Much of the time spent on smartphones is multitasking while the user is also doing something else, added Jeffrey M. Stanton, a professor of information studies at Syracuse University.
Experian found that iPhone users spend more time on their devices (an average of 75 minutes a day) than Android users (49 minutes). The increased devotion of iPhone users has big implications for advertisers and app developers, Stanton added.
Another new study from Clear Channel Media & Entertainment revealed that while 70% of smartphone owners feel "connected" most or all of the time, they are split on connectivity's benefits, with 51% saying they "love it" and 49% saying connection "has its pluses and minuses."
Freeman, the customer service rep and nursing home worker, observed that texting, emailing and social networking have come to replace in-person socializing. Her battered iPhone is a lifeline for gossip and "street talk" but "it made me lazy. I used to run to Brooklyn to see my friends. Now we just text."