Why is the mobile smart phone a status symbol?

Unlike for us in Sri Lanka, status for a Westerner is a collection of Vintage Wine, or from a certain vineyard or even a special Malt Whisky. It does not have to be necessarily of very high value. It’s the aroma, the flavour or taste that matters.  

by Victor Cherubim 

( November 9, 2018, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) “Every Google search, every Facebook refresh and every “Tweet” requires a Server/computer somewhere perpetuating the use of scarce energy,” say researchers. More mobiles mean more servers accompanied now by more apps. But does this worry consumer electronic buffs?

Mobile developers are attempting to make up for lost profits by selling bigger, fancier and smarter handsets. It was only yesterday (October 7, 2018) that in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled their newest and upcoming foldable, flexible screen mobile technology Code named Galaxy X.

This new clamshell mobile will have a smaller 4inch screen to the front with a 7.3 inch screen when opened. It is somewhat of a swap between an existing phone screen and a tablet screen and can run 3 Apps simultaneously in one mode. Compared to the Apple IPhone which weights 177 gms, the Samsung changing form factor to a foldable model is expected to weigh 200 gms, but their Engineers are working to bring out a slimmer battery to reduce its weight in order to compete in the market.

Apple has said they want to build an IPhone 7 model, creating roughly 10%, not less but more CO2.

This is because customers are buying smart phones less often. They are not upgrading their phones annually as before; instead people are spending more and keeping their smart phones for 3 rather than the usual 2 years.

People have become smarter than the Smart phones, they are keeping their old mobiles greener than upgrading for a newer models. Besides, it is rumoured that the new Galaxy X may cost as much as £1,365. Is this a cost cutting exercise?

Why do people crave for status? 

I believe the real reason the youth of today crave for status in the IPhone is not only for the Apple logo, but for one or another reason they think Apple is status, like a young lady carrying a Michael Kors leather handbag. It is affordable and shows affluence.

But that is not the overriding reason to get a new phone?

Status is in the mind of many. The fact is that a large number of people love and adore “to be someone”. In today’s world identity is the “be all and end all of life”.

To get the latest IPhone young people the world over are willing to queue outside phone shops for days prior to launch, so that they can proudly claim to be among the first to own the latest IPhone.

Anything can become a status symbol? 

Wealth as a show of status today is hard to acquire. Young people in UK, unlike in my working days, have to do two, and sometimes three jobs a week, to earn a living wage. To save a deposit to lease a two bedroom “pad” now takes years, but to buy an I Phone “on the never, never” is an affordable prospect.

Of course, a status symbol only works if others’ appreciate its value; otherwise it just remains an object.

Special status symbols in Sri Lanka are particularly Gold Jewellery and Cars. Anything that displays wealth and success is considered a status symbol. In the good old days going to Oxbridge for an education was considered class and status. A scholarship abroad was status in anybody’s language. But why is that not the case today?

The motivation of Status 

Unlike for us in Sri Lanka, status for a Westerner is a collection of Vintage Wine, or from a certain vineyard or even a special Malt Whisky. It does not have to be necessarily of very high value. It’s the aroma, the flavour or taste that matters.

For a Philatelist, a special Stamp or watermark on a Stamp, or even a particular hand stamp, creates value over time.

For a Furniture admirer, a Queen Anne bureau is more than value. It shows class.

For a big business Magnate, not necessarily from UK, but from abroad, like the Chelsea Football Club owner, Ambramovich, not only showing off a beautiful wife, but owning a very expensive Yacht, communicates subconsciously that he is the epitome of success, which he no doubt, is?

What is Success? 

The motivation for success is many.

In my opinion, the most successful people are not successful because they were or are chasing money, power or fame. They are successful because they have something deep within motivating them to succeed.

Failure, strangely and arguably is a great motivation for people to work even harder to succeed.

Taking responsibility for your life is another secret of success.

While giving of oneself to change the lives of others is one of the biggest accomplishments of success?

In my humble opinion, this was the hallmark, one of the distinguishing characteristics of my dearly beloved departed younger sister, Consie, who as a Science teacher at the Muslim schools in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and later at the Muslim Girls School at Maradana, gave of herself for the upliftment of others, that made her a wanted and a respected member of society?

In a sense, or in essence, it is not things that matter as status symbols. It is the hunger to be of help to others that is the most endearing status symbol.


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