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    Indeed, everyone in the room is having a conversation: however, it’s not with each other, but with the network of people they are connected to on their phones. Are our cell phone habits harmless time fillers, or are they actually contributing to the degradation of community life?

    It may seem like no big deal to whip out your cell phone during these periods of “downtime” in your day…but it is interesting to consider the opportunity cost of these moments that are now busied by “superficial conversations and websurfing”–moments when we used to be able to let our minds wander, or might have struck up a conversation with an actual person nearby.

    Moments of downtime that perhaps used to be time for quiet thought or a casual conversation with someone nearby are now filled to the brim with ‘texts’ and ‘widgets’ — it seems there’s not a moment that goes by now that can’t be occupied by this tethered technological gadget.

    Chris’s article also brings to mind a few interesting points about our “cell phone society”, about the way cell phones have affected communal spaces and how they have changed how we interact with one another.

    ” when you see that beautiful girl carrying an i Phone, you can just bump into her and say “Oh, hey, look at that, I got your number, we might as well make this work.” My personal favorite widget was created by Jordan Palmer (no, not Carson Palmer, his brother).

    It’s called Run and Pee, a comprehensive list of convenient times to visit the bathroom while watching a movie at the theatre.

    No, it’s not sleeping through the alarm clock or spilling instant oatmeal on my shirt in the morning.

    It’s that five-minute filler, that substitute for silence.

    According to Apple, over 16 million Americans owned an i Phone as of last June.

    A time when you might have sat for a moment in silence, read a book without interruption, or chatted with someone nearby, instead of constantly grabbing for your phone to send a text or check e-mail?

    It’s hard to imagine, but just give it a try: can you remember life before you had a device with you, at all times, everywhere you go?

    For example, the new Apple “bump widget,” which allows you to physically bump your i Phone against another i Phone and exchange contact information.

    So next time you are walking by yourself to the library or to your favorite sandwhich shop, instead of screaming out “my friend likes you!

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