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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an online journalist must be in want of a smartphone.

Well, perhaps 99 per cent of the time.

On the 31st of December last year, my two-year phone contract ended, and I found myself at a technological crossroads. My disdain for constant and relentless connectivity had been gradually intensifying, and I’d even started a Saturday morning ritual of deliberately leaving my phone at home and going out for breakfast.

Coincidentally the ending of my contract coincided with the New Year, and I was spurred into action. I purchased the most basic phone I could find, a ‘talk and text only’ phone. In the days that followed, I certainly experienced smartphone withdrawal.

No longer could I tweet on-the-go, check-in on Facebook, scroll Instagram, or map my route on Google maps. It was a hard landing. One of the first true tests of my resolve happened in February when I was at the Tech Leaders forum on the Gold Coast. Being in a room full of tech journos with my $29 phone was an experience.

But as the weeks turned into months, what had began as a quaint experiment turned into a way of life. Interestingly, the switch seems to have bothered those around me more than it has bothered me. Colleagues, friends and family alike have all voiced their displeasure at being unable to send me snapchats, or include emoticons in their text messages. The number one question I get asked by those around me is: ‘But… why’?

The answer to that is simple.

The nature of my work as an online journalist means I’m online most of the time – and I do love it. But it’s not all I am.

I like the challenge of needing to learn how to get to where I’m going, without having Google in my pocket.

I like the freedom of being online when I choose to be, not when my iPhone sends me a push notification.

I like being able to sit patiently on a bus and enjoy the journey, rather than have my head bent at 90 degrees, fingers scrolling and tapping.

And of course, as cool as it is to have the World Wide Web in my pocket, the best moments in life are the ones that happen right in front of your eyes. Life’s short and extraordinary; I don’t want to spend it looking at a screen.

What do you think?

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Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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