Vitamin Water wants someone to give up their smartphone for a year. And if you're selected and can actually do it, you'll get $100,000. We haven't quite figured out why they're doing this (#freepublicity), but they start with the claim that half of us say we can't live without our phones.
We're addicted to social media, texting, having all the world's information at our fingertips, whatever. And if that's the kind of stuff I had to dispense with, it wouldn't be a problem. The company will give their contestant a basic cellphone that people can use for.... you know, phone calls. (Great, we'll still have telemarketers calling). But that's it.
And that's why I couldn't consider giving up my smartphone. Too many other things in my life require having one. One of the most basic is transportation. Between Uber and Lyft and the great Transit app I use in larger cities, my smartphone literally helps me get from Point A to Point B -- especially when I'm traveling. You can't really dig out a laptop to call an Uber. (Or maybe you can, but awkward). No, I don't need it to buy gas for my car; but to find the lowest gas prices...
Then there's actual work, like my job. Our workplace communicates a lot by text message. We're just supposed to ignore our messages until we're near a computer? Um, no.
For what it's worth, Vitamin Water won't technically prevent you from using a tablet or laptop. But they do give their loose definition of what a smartphone is: "...if texting is a pleasant experience or you can get on the internet, it’s probably a smartphone."
So you'll be left to figure it out on your own. You'll also have to pass a lie detector test at the end of the year, just to show you were honest about it. So little trust.
There are a lot of reasons I should use my smartphone less. Sometimes I'm just on there, because it's in front of me. Mindlessly scrolling through social media, scrolling my Apple News feed, whatever. But far too much of what I'm doing on the phone is useful and might even be good for me (like reading a book!). So I'm not going to enter.
But you can. Just post a photo to Twitter or Instagram while explaining why you need to give up your smartphone for a year. And what would you do with all that time? Use the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest. (Details at vitaminwater.com)
And yes, I caught the irony of using your smartphone to enter a contest designed to make people use it less.