Poverty and Technology

Ed has this thing with cell phones.  They are a “lifeline” of sorts.  He always thinks he has to have one and he is generally willing to pay for features that he either doesn’t need or doesn’t know how to use.

There was a study released on Friday reporting that people below the poverty level are obsessed with technology like cell phones and HDTV and they see it as a status symbol.  That totally clicked for me.  Ed has bad debt with at least three cellular carriers in the community and yet the minute that he gets one cut off, he runs out and buys a new cell phone from another one.  He also has to have the gambit of accessories, multiple chargers and a holster.  All for what you ask?  So that he can further inflate his idea of being cool. 

See I’ve been wondering, what does a cell phone say about a person?  Does it say that they are important?  Not really, maybe if they use it for work, but then a lot of people use it for work.  Does it say that they have friends?  Not really, anyone can have a cell phone, some of the most introverted people I know have a cell phone.  Does it say that the person carrying it has money?  With the new cell phone plans ANYONE can have a phone.  So see really, in the new world, where EVERYONE has a cell phone and can have one there is nothing special about them.  The technology has become an affordable commodity for the general public.  While Ed may need his phone to feel “special” or “privileged”  the truth is that he is just meeting the standard for his peer group!

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