Did you know that there are still people out there that don’t have mobile phones? Not just not having a smart phone, any kind of phone. Today I interview Micah Fletcher to get a feel for what it’s like being disconnected in a time when being connected has become second nature to the general public.
Billy: So Micah, you don’t have any form of mobile phone, not even a cheap flip phone?
Micah: No, I currently just use my 4th Gen iPod Touch for communication.
He gives it to me for me to hold. The first thing that comes to mind is how much bigger phones are today. My Pixel XL dwarfs the iPod touch with the LCD being larger than the entire device with its case on. My memory seems to remember them being a lot larger, but I guess I was still growing myself back then.
Billy: So what is the biggest challenge you have come across because of not having a mobile phone?
Micah: It’s not so much a problem of me contacting anyone else, more so that I’m very unreachable. If I need to get a message to someone, I can usually get someone else to get the message to them, either directly or through some form of chain of communication. The reverse is a little bit harder, because if my iPod is dead, the person who needs to contact me would have to be able to know who I am with at that time.
Being his roommate, I can personally testify to the difficulty of getting in contact with him, especially when he’s borrowing my car.
Billy: What is the biggest obstacle to getting a mobile phone?
Micah: It’s not the upfront cost of purchasing a phone it’s the plans. I just don’t like the idea of paying to use something that I *should* already own.
Billy: Is there any benefits to not having a mobile phone in such a connected world?
Micah: I like the plausible deniability of having just the iPod because then I am in full control of my digital communications. People aren’t able to have me on-demand. I don’t like the idea of being tied down.
Billy: Has not having a mobile phone affected you academically, socially, or professionally?
Micah: No issue academically, I am still able to communicate with people when I need to, to say set up a group meeting. Socially, all it means is I am basically in full control of my outings. Professionally. it is an issue because I have to use FaceTime instead of sending or receiving calls.
Billy: What would be the tipping point to convince you that you need a phone?
Micah: When my iPod finally kicks the bucket, or if I get a serious internship that requires me to be more accessible.
The most interesting thing about this to me is that his issue isn’t about being a luddite or hipster and against the main stream, it’s just the fact that he doesn’t want to have to pay for a place he doesn’t want to be a part of. He isn’t preachy about it either. I am impressed by his tenacity in making it this far. So there you go, it is in fact possible to survive in a hyper connected world through texting apps on an iPod, getting others to communicate for you, and smoke signals.