It's amusing in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers kind of way to watch hundreds of New Yorkers walking around on sidewalks holding their phones, checking them constantly. A few years ago everyone was toting water bottles -- you see less of those now because people need their phone hands.
Facebook + Phone has proven to be amazing catnip for humans. An unbeatable combination that took screen addiction out of the office and home and into the streets.
This phenomenon has hit Europe hard as well. The magazine EXBERLINER.com tried to get theorist Evgeny Morozov to talk about "internet addiction" but he was more interested in who is specifically benefiting from this phone crack:
I have little problem with the "addicts" part; it's the "internet" in "internet addicts" that I find troubling. A major part of my own critique of contemporary digital discourse is the way in which it barely registers any alternatives to the way in which Facebook, Google, Twitter and others have colonised our lives, presenting themselves as the only game in town when it comes to connectivity. They are also tied to a particular business model – advertising – and it's this model which results in these sites being as addictive as they are. If they don't get you hooked and you visit them rarely, you are a money-losing unit for them. So when I speak critically of "internet addiction," I am simply cautioning people not to medicalise a socio-economic problem. The right answer here clearly is not to develop more drugs to fix our addiction, but to question how we should run our communication services – perhaps, disconnecting them from the current advertising model altogether.
There is chicken-egg problem, though: if everyone has a phone and checks it constantly, who is going to agitate for change?