Column: Let your phone die

We spend 2.7 hours every day texting, tweeting, Tumblring, Instagramming and the like on our cellphones, and it’s ruining our lives.

Little do we know, our cellphones are covered in microparticles of our poop, old food, pet dander and other people’s sweat.

A report this week by the Wall Street Journal cites that because our phones go where we go, our phones essentially act as carrier sponges.

“We’re feeding the little creatures,” said a microbiologist cited in the article.

More troubling, no smartphone manufacturer has real policies on how to effectively clean a device.

But when I say our phones — the things that we hold to our faces and keep with us all day, every day — are covered in fecal coliforms, we’re not going to change our social protocols.

Those social protocols, of course, have been engraved into our daily existence. The New York Times also published a telling article this week about how we’ve destroyed common courtesy and social etiquette for a new era of cellphone culture.

When life existed with only face-to-face contact and phone calls, you had to appropriately apologize whenever you blew someone off.

But today people often triple-and quadruple-book plans, and though in fact you’ll hold out for the “coolest” thing to do, the other people get upset when they find you’re not being kind.

Our society hasn’t really found decent integration for politely saying “no” through the use of technology.

So when you tell your co-worker that you can’t make dinner because you’re feeling sick, but an hour later you post a photo of you at a bar on Instagram, you’ve instantly gotten caught.

“With the rise of social media and technology, it’s harder to use little white lies to get out of things,” the article states.

Yes, the rise of “micro-coordination” — smaller, more coordinated plans in a much less formal setting — has given us the ability to connect faster and easier, but the quality of how we interact has degraded.

Communications like this, though, are generally lazy, and by texting and messaging we promote laziness in socializing, and we send digital passive-aggressive notes to each other that forgo respect.

“OMG, u r comin 2 tha partyy tonight?” And the immediate: “ya.” An hour passes. “sry bro, nxt tme?”

These are nothing but examples of conversations going on all day, all the time. We prefer texts instead of saying “Hello” in person. We’d call, but “that’s awkward.”

The removal (or at least reduction) of frequent salutations and ritual communication degrades socialization.

And surely, if you’re young and you date, you’ll inevitably experience (or initiate) a breakup via text, email or Facebook message. This problematic distance, again, is a lazy cop-out attempt to maintain the distance that technology has lets exist.

We now live in a socially dense haven of communication. Couldn’t we at least hold out to see each other?

These are strange new unwritten adaptations to our lives, and slowly but surely they are becoming integrated into our daily existence.

A good example of this happened about two years ago when the Associated Press, an organization that both defines and reflects on social culture in its AP Stylebook, decided to establish “social media guidelines” alongside, of course, ethics policies and the difference between the words “comprise” and “compose.”

I think when you publish definitions of “thx” and “LOL” alongside lists of important companies (and how to officially write our their names), you validate this destructive behavior as ordinal, integral and simply part of our lives.

I think if you’re okay with this, then live your life in this newly problematic society that we live in.

Or if you’re like me, and relatively “old-fashioned” and prefer real communication, insist on it. Make phone calls and have real-life meetings instead of lame texts, online #tweetups and Google+ hangouts.

Or, instead of complaining about your smartphone’s poor battery life when out with friends, stop Instagramming every food and drink item in sight.

Do us a favor: Just let your phone die.

Start communicating like a human and less like a robot with a mini-computer. This is what we need, not another “X-Pro filtered” photo of a mediocre Taco Bell taco.

The fact that the hashtag #toilettweeting and that a startup that will publish your tweets on toilet paper exist should disturb you.

Life is more about symbolic interaction, human contact and exemplary empathy between each other, and less about being a braggart who can only communicate through a filter at a distance.

Or maybe I’m wrong and this whole digital method is a good thing.

Maybe breaking up, shirking duties or cancelling plans is an OK thing to do, especially with abbreviated words and bad grammar on phones covered in poop.

Or maybe it’s just a shitty way to communicate.

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