I’m sure I’m not alone in my amazement at staring at my phone when people walk by. Or maybe they do, because it seems almost everyone does, and maybe everyone forgives each other. I have that forgiving less. Absurd as it sounds, they are puppets of a device they control themselves. No concern for fellow pedestrians, cyclists, or cars, even if they are still on the path they were meant to be on. Necks bowed, heads pushed down, how heavy is the dictatorship of the telephone screen.
Not very intelligent either.
And what exactly are they looking for, I wonder. It could never be more interesting. Bathing suit photo of an influencer. Unnecessary contribution to WhatsApp group which is huge. Career success of a vague acquaintance on LinkedIn. An article about asylum seekers who will soon have to sleep outside again in Ter Appel. Nothing that makes you happy.
Or route on google maps? No, then they too would occasionally look ahead.
I recently discovered a more romantic possible explanation: Perhaps many of those ongoing phone watchers are in their Notes app. This golden old The built-in iPhone apps seem to be used with great gusto, and it has become fashionable to share screenshots of digitally penned thoughts on TikTok. Whispering, as one did not sit quietly with pen and paper, but instead grabbed the nearest device to record the thought. Poetry, lists, insights and resolutions. Your inner self, honest and unfiltered. letter to myself.
depth and mystery
Perhaps the woman who tapped my shoulder was writing a poem about the true meaning of love. Perhaps the boy blowing the bus horn was suddenly gripped with a deep sense of where his life should be headed. Or he would have invented a joke that would make the man forget his worries, such a thing certainly could not have survived. And maybe all those other antisocial people were so infatuated with the environment that they had to be registered immediately. Maybe it was worth watching the inappropriate screen.
I took a look at TikTok, where you can use the hashtag #notesapp to find out what kind of things are being tapped at the moment. It turned out to be mainly young women who revealed their notes, suggesting depth and mystery. “Never look in the girl’s notes app again.” As if there is something behind it that the audience would not expect
something about lego
But of course it’s what you’d expect: shopping lists and snack ideas; jokes that aren’t funny enough to repeat here; half sentence, half consonant; predictable bucket list; emotional letters such as from a teenage diary; Song Edited by Ariana Grande. And lots of demands for potential mates: “Cute smile, nice hands, pose as a golden retriever, have a skin care routine, and will do anything for me.”
“And what do men put in their Notes app?” asked a TikTok star. A man replied: something about Lego, something about a game, and a lot of numbers he had forgotten about.
Well then, please better watch where you’re going.
Swipe and Click – Kelly van der Waals discusses engaging trends and buzzwords in online media. You can find past columns here.