A Cell Phone Story


Delilah, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Delilah, 36, single, works full-time as a freelance writer for various international magazine publications and attends college part-time working towards a Masters Degree via on and off campus courses.

Phone type: Palm Treo 750 Smart Phone

Subscription type: Individual subscription with major carrier, with 300 daytime minutes, and 3000 weekend and evening minutes per month, all rolled over if unused.  Free carrier to carrier calls.

Average monthly expenditure: $70/month, paid by self, but includes a 15% discount through her media affiliations

Hours of work to purchase mobile phone handset: 6

Most Common Use: Email, voice calls w/family, friends.

Delilah is a 36 year old single woman who lives alone in a loft apartment in Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada, right in the heart of the artsy district.  She grew up in the Midwest of the United States, but relocated to Vancouver about 10 years ago just a few years post college graduation.  Delilah is a freelance writer, and works from home, but travels about 40% of her time for onsite interviews and information gathering.  She is working on her Masters Degree and attends the local university via online courses, which fits well into her unpredictable lifestyle.  Work and school take up most of her time, but she manages to squeeze in several trips to the gym per week, and since she has no family in Vancouver, she meets up with friends once or twice per week through various work related organizations and school.  She also enjoys perusing her area neighborhood, the art district, as well as strolls along the marina, the beach, and area parks with her friends.

Delilah had no hesitation purchasing her first cell phone 10 years ago.  She had a landline at the time, and has always observed new technology with wide eyes.  She was a struggling recent college grad, and most of her friends already had a cell phone, so it was a couple of years before she was able to afford one, and finally caught up with the trend that was to become an enduring social revolution.  Delilah relocated shortly after and never installed a landline after the move, so her cell phone became her primary phone.  Delilah’s current cell, the Palm Treo 750, was purchased a couple of years ago.  She really wanted to try an iPhone, but she was not willing to pay $400, however, she knew she wanted access to the internet and email, and lots of bells and whistles to play around with.  She also knew she could sinc her calendar with her laptop, so she would not have to carry around a separate calendar, or print off pages from her pc to keep organized when she was away from her home office.  Delilah was not happy with the Palm almost immediately, and regretted not spending the extra cash to go ahead with the iPhone.  She found it cumbersome to operate, and difficult to learn all the functions.  But she wanted to give it a chance, so she did not return and instead, tried to learn how to use it.  After over two years, her contract is now ready to be upgraded, so she is ready to finally purchase the iPhone she has wanted, but just has not gotten around to it.

Delilah is very dependent on her cell phone, and does not know what she would do without it.  Her primary use, which is what the Palm is marketed for, is access to email.  When she is away from her laptop, she is alerted anytime she receives a new email.  She has her phone set up for different ringtones for every function.  Every person who is a frequent caller has their own unique ringtone so that she knows immediately who it is without even looking at the caller ID.  She loves having access to email through her phone as it is important that she has the ability to respond to new writing assignments, which are typically communicated through email.  In addition, she is able to keep up with her school related directives from her professors.

Delilah is also an avid Facebooker, so she updates her status regularly, and enjoys reading the responses and posts her friends make to her page throughout her day.  She also uses Facebook to market her writing, and likes to keep up with comments regarding her work.  Delilah writes a couple of blogs for an online magazine, and receives comments from those pages as well.

Delilah is far away from her family, so most of her lengthy voice calls are with distant family members.  She is not one to talk on the phone much, and when she does it is mostly to make plans for work related meetings or social engagements.  She recently started dating someone new, Edward, but they only spend a moderate amount of time chatting on the phone.  They usually just speak to make plans, or coordinate schedules. For the most part, Delilah communicates mostly through email, Facebook, and occasionally instant message.  She communicates with many family and friends through Facebook, so there’s not really a need to talk on the phone a great deal since everyone keeps up with each other with online social networking.

Delilah accesses the internet minimally with her cell phone.  Usually to check Facebook, but only does that when she is stuck somewhere waiting on something, and has nothing to do at the moment.  She thinks her Facebook email alerts are adequate, so no need to be compelled to check the newsfeed 24/7.  Seeing what others are up to can wait until she has laptop access.  She finds her cell a valuable timekeeping tool.  She wakes up to a uniquely chosen ringtone, something soothing, and not the harsh buzzing of most alarms.  However, she finds it annoying that if she does not “dismiss” the alarm, it keeps going off every couple minutes, and if it goes continually ignored, will then sound a harsh ring, just to “make sure”, she got the alarm.  After all, how does the cell phone know you received the alarm unless you respond somehow?  She uses the calendar feature some, but finds she remembers most appointments, so that feature is not as important as others.  Delilah has texting feature, but does not use it.  It costs 10 cents per incoming or outgoing, but she does not text, and rarely does she get one from her peers or business associates, as texting seems to be a thing for the younger crowd, and besides, she hates trying to type on those little tiny keyboards and doesn’t really see how people can stand it.  She also hates using abbreviated words, so she has come to despise the language, and thinks it is unprofessional when people use texting lingo in emails or class related discussions.  Anyhow, if she needs to quickly contact someone, she will call, or vice versa.

Yet another use for Delilah’s cell phone is her utilization as a watch.  Delilah hasn’t worn a watch for years and counts on her phone to be her timekeeper for her.  It saves her money in buying watches because rather than taking the time to go buy a new battery for an old watch, it would just end up in the jewelry box, with the other dead watches, while she would go out and purchase a new one to wear.  They are pretty inexpensive these days, and it was just easier to buy a new one rather than go to some fix-it shop, which was a wasted chore for Delilah’s busy life.  A new watch kept her up with the fashion trends as well, but now all that is no longer necessary, and she can simply wear a pretty bracelet instead.

Finally, Delilah’s cell phone includes a camera and video recorder function.  She forgets she has video so she never uses it.  She only occasionally uses the camera at special occasions or when something unusual or funny comes up AND she thinks about it.  She’s not one of those people that take photographs everywhere she goes so she can post it on Facebook in order to convince everyone that she has a fun and exciting life.  Maybe she is just jealous of those people who do post all those pictures of their fun and exciting lives.

Delilah’s cell phone use tells a story of the evolution of not only the many ways cell phones can be used, but how each individual person may use cell phones in a different way depending on their needs and their own personal lifestyles.  Some may communicate more with texting, some may spend a lot of time on voice calls, some may have an inclination towards “apps” or games that are available, and some still, just carry one for emergency purposes.  In Delilah’s case, her voice phone use changed from more lengthy conversations using her landline years ago, to communicating mostly electronically.  So although she does not use her cell for the same function as she used her landline, for voice call purposes, she still finds the cell phone as an extremely valuable part of her life.

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