Question of the Day: Never Use a Phone, or Everything on Your Phone Goes Public?

"I'd make everything public. It’d make life interesting."

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12 July 2018, 2:14am

All photos by the author

Phones are moorish. You check Instagram, and then you pop onto Facebook, and then you’re craving Instagram again. And in this way your phone fills up with the most detailed and intricate data set from every possible corner of your life.

Now, ask yourself a question. Would you prefer to make all this data public on the internet, or never use a phone again? And yes, we’re talking about all the 3 AM texts and nude selfies and pretentious epiphanies you’ve stored in your notes. We mean all of it. On the internet. Or would you prefer that, or privacy forever?

We asked around Melbourne to see what people think.

Rachael, 27 and Allison, 31

VICE: Hey guys, would you rather everything on your phone went on the net or give it away forever?
A: I would just rather never use my phone. I could live without it.
R: It’s tough, but I’d probably put everything up on the web.

Okay so different answers. Allison, what on your phone that’s so private?
I just send my boyfriend real horrible pictures of me, with my neck all squashed up and stuff like that. I’d end up as meme for the rest of my life.

And you don’t care Rachael?
I don’t care, it’s fine. And I’d probably use my phone a lot differently if everything was going up. Also I feel too boring for anyone to actually bother looking.

Do you see any positives or negatives out of this situation?
A: I think I’d benefit from not using my phone. I’d just go without a phone and start writing letters again.

John, 27 (fake name btw)

Hey John, what’s it going to be?
I actually don’t have that many bad things on my phone. Actually, my old phone does, maybe.

What did you have on your old phone?
Just some extra stuff. Just extra extra stuff that I wouldn’t want on the internet.

Any specifics you’d like to describe for the internet?
Some photos maybe. Of a girlfriend. In some very suggestive poses. The old phone was destroyed so hopefully they’re not on the cloud. But if those photos somehow got out hopefully they wouldn’t get me in trouble.

Lily 21, and Cody, 23

Hey guys, which way would you go?
C: That’s a really tricky question. I don’t think I could live without my phone, in this current day and age. I’d just cop it and just be a bit cleaner I reckon.
L: I couldn’t live without my phone either.

Tell me why putting everything on the net wouldn’t bother you.
C: Well everything is publicly available. I kind of just wouldn’t make a heap more of stuff on my phone.
L: I don’t think there’s anything that would get me in trouble. Just some photos of each other.

You’re both okay with each other’s stuff being on the net? So your phone addiction kind of outweighs the concern about what others think of you?
L: I feel like it would weird for a couple of weeks then I’d get over it. We’d just have to deal with people coming across our photos and forget about it. Basically I just can’t live without my phone.
C: Yeah, phones are too useful to not use. But it’s not like we’re addicted. It’s not like we have to use them. I’d rather Google something than ask people, or go to a library.

Genevieve, 26

Hey Genevieve, lose your phone or your privacy?
I’m going to give up my phone because I don’t need it. There are many other ways to communicate with people. Although, that being said, I wouldn’t care about it being published because my life is life and people who are in it know already.

You don’t care what anyone thinks?
Not at all. People can think what they think. I’ve just come to realise that if the people in my life know things about me, then there’s no difference in everyone knowing.

By the sounds of it you almost see openess as a positive?
Totally. It just means that people might have preconceptions they’ve found out about me from my online life. If they want to correct those misconceptions or find out more, then they can ask. If they still don’t want to do that, well, fuck ‘em. I don’t care.

Do you see any positives in never using a phone again?
I’d probably be able to spend more time reading and Instagram would stop plaguing my life. I classify my relationship with my phone as borderline unhealthy, but not fully unhealthy. Actually, if you’d asked me a year ago I would have said my phone relationship was very unhealthy.

Ed, 27

Hey Ed. All your stuff on the web or no phone?
I'd make everything public I reckon. It’d make life interesting.

Do you have any interesting stuff on your phone?
Nope, not really. It’s more about how I’d communicate. I’ve just moved over here and if I didn’t have a phone it would be hard communicating with all my mates abroad. I’d be pretty screwed without it.

Since you’re new, could it be helpful having all your stuff on the net?
Not really. I’m not sure it’s any different if you’re on social media. It’s pretty easy for people to get in contact with you, no matter who you are.

Laura, 31

No phone forever or everything google-able?
I’d give up my phone forever. I might even get my life back if I did that. And I don’t really know what’s on my phone that’d be concerning. I don’t have a dark past or anything, but who knows what my husband has looked up. And there are possibly some embarrassing photos from my youth.

So, you could live without your phone?
It’d be hard but I could do it. It’s just the fact that I don’t know what’s on there, so who knows what I’d be judged for. It could also impact my career. The risk is much higher than just not having a phone. It’t be the lesser of two evils.

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