Saturday, September 7, 2013

10 ways smart phones hurt writers

By Frederick Lee Brooke

  1. Unless you have amazing self-discipline, watch out for that social media addiction.
  2. Zap incoming notifications into the trash can instead of becoming a slave to them.
  3. Up till the advent of the smart phone, it took a lot more clicks and infrastructure to check emails and surf the net; are you writing as much as you aimed to?
  4. Not active but passive consumption is king with smart phones. Reading is active. Watching videos is passive.
  5. Zoning out is good if it leads to reflection. At what moments in the day did you used to take time for reflection? Are you getting out your phone and checking stuff during those moments now?
  6. Are you constantly switching from one thing to another rather than focusing for a period of time on one thing on your smart phone? It’s the antithesis of what we do when we read a story.
  7. Might people accustomed to smart phone entertainment have less patience for long strings of words that make up a story?
  8. Are we losing the gift of gab? Sometimes people are glued to their smart phone when they could be talking together. How is real-life dialogue changing?
  9. Now smart phones have invaded the bedroom and the dinner table, the grocery line and the office chat around the coffee machine. These are places where we used to tell each other stories. Is the story becoming irrelevant?
  10. Did you notice how smart phones bring Google ever closer, meaning we don’t have to remember stuff because we can always look it up? We have access to more memory, but our own collective memory is turning to mush.

“I fear the day when technology takes over our humanity. The world will then be a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein

Rant over. Let’s hear your thoughts — do I worry too much?

This post originally appeared in Fred's blog, My Two Cents.

Frederick Lee Brooke is the author of the widely-acclaimed Annie Ogden mystery series, which includes Doing Max Vinyl, Zombie Candy and Collateral Damage. A consummate jetsetter, he was born and raised in Chicago and has lived in Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, France, and Germany. He has called Switzerland his home for the past two decades, and travels widely throughout Europe (at latest count, he has visited Italy over 50 times!). Brooke’s love of the written and spoken word is vast—not only has he taught English in various European schools, he also knows French, German, and Italian, and dabbles in Turkish in his spare time. This love of language led him to quit his day job two years ago and focus on his original dream: writing fiction. When not writing books, his three kids (and their homework) keep him busy. He is currently working on a new series of thrillers and, once that’s done, he might take some time to visit one of those Swiss chocolate factories (but only for the free samples). He can often be found chopping vegetables in the kitchen, and makes a mean lasagna. 


  1. Great article! My sentiments entirely and I guess many readers will relate to that.With an even smaller generation of smart devices introduced in Berlin (IFA) this week -like watches that do all these tricks- there will be no escape.

  2. Siggy, it's interesting to hear you have the same concerns in Berlin! Best wishes, Frederick Lee Brooke

  3. IFA is the biggest electrotechnical commercial fair. The effects of a device crazy society you can see everywhere:around a dinner table, restaurant, metro, bus, ...if we now get them as a watch..God help us.I asked ayoung woman for her home phone number the other day.She didn't know itas she never called herself...and for others:only the cell.And then she said: It's only old people like my granny who still use the landline, because she thinks it's cheaper. Well and safer too , I replied, if you live in a place like Florida where hurricane swing by on a regular basis and what goes out first is the internet and a cell tower.