There's this inexplicable theory floating around that people who are logged off or off the grid are evolved humans, capable of reaching greater social and spiritual heights because they aren't tethered to a phone screen. You've met these people. You know them by their obscure, outdated flip phones, or their siren call of "can't you just put your phone down for five minutes?" You may also know them by their self-righteous proclivity to shame friends and loved ones for pulling up social feeds at lame parties. The evolved don't believe in social feeds, they're better than social feeds.
But the time has come for the underdogs, the oft-ridiculed cellphone addicts, to rise up against the tide of shamers. A new Pew Research Center survey shows that, spiritual heights be damned, we're almost all using our phones in group settings.
The shaming is just an elaborate ruse to distract from our own misgivings!!! The survey, which studied Americans' views on "mobile etiquette," found that most people (82%) said cellphone use during social gatherings is harmful to the atmosphere or conversation. But wait! When the same survey respondents were asked if they had personally used their phone at their most recent soiree, a full 89% admitted to doing so. You do the math.
The only truly self-aware respondents seem to be those who ponied up and said they think phone use can, in fact, contribute to a collective IRL experience (posting group selfies, looking up relevant stuff on the 'net, et cetera, et cetera). But only 33% of the people polled said cellphone use in group settings is beneficial, at least on occasion.
So what many see as rude behavior is actually an extremely common occurrence. Maybe these evolved, no-phone-in-public monsters are just lashing out friends who incorporate phones into group settings as a means of coming to terms with their own sins.
The larger point of the Pew survey was to take a deeper look into what people consider to be good and bad cellphone behavior. Since we basically never turn our phones off or leave them behind, we're essentially living in a world where cellphones are an accepted extension of our fleshy bodies. Now we just need to figure out how to politely navigate the world with this fun, new body part. Emily Post has the basics covered.
So go ahead, friends. Feel free to whip your phone out at your next social event. Bored at a party? Go ahead, log on. Live your life! Own your choices! Your lame, judgmental friends who try to ridicule you will never know the joys of being in two places at the same time. Or at least they won't admit to it. Be free. Scroll away.
Hannah Smothers is a reporter for Fusion's Sex & Life section, a Texpat, and a former homecoming princess.