THE BLOG

What Love Would Look Like Without Smartphones

03/27/2014 12:02 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2014
  • Dennis Williams II Building communities through digital marketing: itsdenniswilliams.com

Think of a 21st century utopian relationship where your significant other knows your eye color off the top of their head. Picture one of those idyllic affairs that you've always thought was too good to be true. You got it in your head? It should be easy to imagine and hard to experience; I've only seen it within the confines of a television screen. But that is what love would look like without the societal intrusion of Steve Jobs.

Don't get me wrong; Steve Jobs' contributions to the world have been more than monumental but his effect on the intangible aspects of life have gone unmeasured. Technology, as a whole, has ruined traditional romantic progression. In today's world, we hold our phone more than we hold hands. In the Mad Men era, we would have to learn about one another through an actual conversation rather than getting a scouting report from their Twitter bio prior to your night out because describing it as a "date" these days would aggrandize the situation. I know half of you are thinking, "OMG how else would I express my feelings without emojis!?" But if I had to describe what love would look like without smartphones I could narrow it down to one word, real.

Above all, people would have more of a connection with one another instead of being connected with the entire world. Dinner dates wouldn't be interrupted by nagging phone notifications and people would actually get to enjoy the company of those in front of them instead of those who are merely virtually present. Metaphorically speaking, smartphones are the life rafts that give people an "out", whether that is because of a lack of interest, or a new age habit. Nonetheless, without this outlet present you are then forced to get to know the person before you which can ultimately cut out the bullshit filler that consumes so many dates these days.

Besides, the concept of first impressions has been drastically affected with the introduction of social media. How can one have access to someone's ticking timeline of Twitter thoughts and Instagram posts but still claim stranger status. After a few minutes of thumb scrolling I can find out a lot about a person. Just think about the type of effort that love in the relatively medieval times required. The hand cramping letters that took hours on end to complete because they wanted to get every word written is a testament enough; nowadays people have simplified emotions to 140 characters. I almost believe people fall in love with a status and online presence which leads to relations that lack substance and anyone can create a presence that breeds a thirsty following as long as their selfie gets enough likes.

Smartphones are needy, they demand your attention throughout the day and when you aren't on them they are pulling at your pocket waiting like an adolescent. The essence of time and patience has been lost, we are all so eager to take pictures with our significant other just to throw a filter on it. Believe it or not there used to be real cameras that didn't connect to the internet and we had to wait for the image to be developed and printed. Those pictures were of better quality, they took time until we saw the finished product and that product was timeless. As a member of this generation we should take the same approach when it comes to love. We are so speedy in process these days which may be the same reason our iPhones sit on our bedside table and our texts now act as our alarm throughout the night. Do we think we are missing something? When, in return, we are missing those events that are happening right before us. It's amazing how the life raft analogy now serves as a double entendre; I forgot a girlfriend's favorite band the other day but instead of admitting my fault I was saved by my Facebook mobile app. The significance behind the band is irrelevant but without my phone I would have been forced to admit I was in the wrong, or actually listened with my undivided attention when she originally told me. To save face, I forfeited authenticity all at the hands of my smartphone.

Technology, smartphones in specific, have managed to strip the necessary authenticity from between two willing people. Yes, smartphones fill in the gaps in certain situations like forgotten information or new age communication like that of Snapchat, but these are gaps they have created. To build something healthy we need to base our relationships off of the proven theories of the past. Face-to-face interaction, substance through constructive conversations is the objective because when your phone dies and you actually realize those relationship gaps you have had all along then you will see technology can't substitute human interaction.