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Barker (2000) defined the conceptions we hold of ourselves as self-identity. The iPhone in its early stages of world takeover in regard to technology provided me with the ability to express self-identity. The iPhone provided connection, communication and knowledge which all largely contribute to self-identity. The iPhone allowed me to hold access to information, engage in social interaction and personal safety. In a way, the iPhone provided me with a sense of self – the iPhone was a comfort object functioning in a way I could be connected with everything occurring within society through the safety of a screen. I could communicate through my teenage years, express my feelings and thoughts with the world through a new domain of communication, the iPhone was the creator of apps which further introduced me to social media.
Many believe we have begun to see our smartphones as an extension of ourselves, I believe this was true of me through my teenage years with unlocking my iPhone much like unlocking my mind. We increasingly identify with our phones, increasingly see them and the digital life we are leading as constitutional factors in our psychological life.
Barker (2000) declared the expectations and opinions of others form our social identity. Being in groups is a part of being a human; it plays such an important role in everything we do including the brand groups we may belong to. Being a part of the iPhone group contributed to establishing my social identity. At such a young age, I was using consumption to assert status within a social group – mobile phones were seen as an object for adults I believe I was trying to seem more mature and older with the purchase of an iPhone as well as conforming to the ever-growing technical society. Being socially identified with those who owned an iPhone I believed showed wealth and superiority, I had the best phone of the time and everyone wanted a turn of it. This slowly deteriorated when the iPhone began being updated yearly and more and more people had the iPhone.
Overall in society I was not performing distinction but it was not common to be a as a twelve-year-old with an iPhone. Within my group, I was the first to be an owner of an iPhone, the first with a smart phone which I believe was the only way I was performing distinction. Being the owner of an iPhone is not distinct, majority of the world own an iPhone or some type of smart phone so it is wrong to declare I was performing distinction. I may have believed I was performing distinction at the time when apple was first establishing the iPhone but I was just like everyone else in society trying to get on the smart phone band wagon.
When I received my first iPhone I believed it was an object I could use to express my individuality but on reflection I was a pseudo-individual. It really did not matter what phone I had and at the age of twelve I probably did not even need a phone. The mass marketed and mass produced smart phone was something I thought I needed. The iPhone wasn’t the first smart phone but it was the smartphone to have. The iPhone was a false need, something that was imposed upon me due to certain social interests.
The consumer expresses individuality in a way, at first sight the iPhone is not an object of individuality with its basic appearance of a large screen and glass back but when in the hands of the consumer it becomes their own. Consumers make it their own through the apps they choose to download, the photographs they keep on their and use for display, the features such as ring tones, the color, the cases, and all other accessories that can be used with or on an iPhone, it becomes a way to express individuality.
The iPhone is a device that has made such a significant impact on the world with its mass consumption. I have now owned an iPhone for eight years and my relationship has changed. As the years have gone on so has the development of the iPhone, the advancements are never ending driving social change. Without my iPhone I would likely been lost far too many times, would be unable to call an Uber, save dates and wake up on time. The relationship has shown me being very reliant upon the iPhone, it plays a large part in the production of my everyday life from the minute I wake up, if the alarm does not go off my whole day is influenced.
I would also like to comment on how the relationship has changed to affect me negatively. The iPhone at a lot of times has led me to be disconnected from the world around. Real life relationships have become ruined with shallow and less meaningful conversation while the connections and relationships made through the iPhone tend to be superficial; fuelled by likes and quick comments. There is also an expectation to be available and responsive at all times. In regard to work the expectation is there to be available for 24/7. There are now fewer spaces when it’s possible and appropriate to be offline which has made my relationship with the product be somewhat negative.
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