Mobile phones as social statements and fashion accessories

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While it may seem odd to some people that anyone would purchase a mobile device as a status symbol or as a fashion accessory, the truth is that there are lots of people who couldn’t be bothered with all the functionality that we gripe about and drool over.

These people either have someone (a personal Assistant) whose job it is to stay on top of their mails and schedules, have access to PC everywhere – home, office and even in their vehicles – and so are not interested in mobile phones for the more advanced features that the rest of the world want. In terms of functionality, voice calls and SMS are good enough in their books.

However, by reason of social class and standing, these individuals must be seen to have and use tasteful and/or exclusive devices. They may not need all the features of the Samsung Galaxy S III, but so long as it is a flagship device, it is the phone they want to be seen with. Actually, some would say that it is the phone that they need to be seen with.

Like cars, mobile phones can serve as social and fashion statements. In the world of the affluent and celebrities, this is how things often run. I have spent a few years taking a look at this phenomenon, and my conclusion is that it is not exactly a matter of vanity. I daresay that it is a need. I know that some of you will shoot me for this, but that is my conclusion after examining the situation.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever purchased a phone for any reason other than its functionality? To be seen as trendy? To be seen as well-to-do?

19 comments

  1. Spot on sir.
    This phenomena can be readily seen with the BlackBerry fever that took over the nation a couple of years back. This is not to attack anyone (cos I also use one) but the clamour to have the latest model was alarming especially knowing that the world had moved on to iOS and Android.

    I saw people paying outrageous amounts of money just to have the bragging rights of ‘na me carry this phone first’ only for that same model to flood the streets in a couple of months time (and at a cheaper price tag I may add) thanks to the ever booming second hand market that exists to cater to this demand.

    For those who place their value on the worth of a smart phone or any tech device they use shd know that competition and launch of new devices will render their once shiny and exclusive device cheap enough to be found in the hands of a 16 year old in a couple of months time.

    Price also obeys the law of gravity.

  2. Some people have some extra cash to play around with and they want to belong to a particular social class so they buy particular phones to belong. (BB porsche anyone?) No qualms about that if you have the means. It is however not wise to borrow money or stretch yourself financially just to belong.

    I buy gadgets based on functionality because I’m a tech enthusiast. What’s the point of doling out 300k just to call and text?

  3. my conclusion is that it is not exactly a matter of vanity. I daresay that it is a need. I know that some of you will shoot me for this,

    (** taking careful aim *)

    Paul Getty said if you know how much you are worth, You are Not Rich.

    EyeBeeKay says, if you need a phone to show your STATUS, you lack class.

    The loudest drums make the most rancorous noise.

    Big hat, no cattle. (Mexican saying )

    Do not judge a book by the page cover .

    All -instructive platitudes.

    Will only splash money for needed functions ONLY.

    1. EyeBeeKay says, if you need a phone to show your STATUS, you lack class.

      And the people ask, “Who the heck is EyeBeeKay? Paul Getty we know.”

  4. I also agree that people who can afford expensive phones even when they do not need most of the functions, have the right to indulge themselves, after all life is all about being happy so long as you are not endangering you health or the health of others and also not infringing on other people’s right or doing something irresponsible to acquire the device or using the device in an irresponsible way.

  5. And the people ask, “Who the heck is EyeBeeKay? Paul Getty we know.”

    I’m not sure who he is either but I have read about a number of people who where despised by their contemporaries and their idea rejected like: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Alexander_Reina_Newlands only to be recognized by later generation and the idea that was formally rejected forming the basis of modern knowledge. Maybe, Eye.Bee.Kay belong to this class of people.

  6. Come off it. Who wants to carry expensive phones for status symbol in this era of kidnappers. I dare say that you only do such thing when you have military escorts and live in a fortified mansion. My phones are bought so i can extract the last drops of their functionallity, so i keep them well hidden and only bring them out for use after making sure no stranger is watching. 😀

    Frankly, i just dont get it when some people boast of their high end phones and end up using such for calls and sms only.

    I guess if all people were like me, such phones like BB Porch, Nokia Sirocco etc would never have seen the light of day. That would have been a pity because such beauty and creativity would have been lost

  7. “If you can actually count your money, then you’re not a rich man”

    is not the same as:

    “If you know how much you are worth, You are Not Rich.”

    Do not misinterpret Paul Getty EyeBeeKay. The richest man in the world knows how much his money/worth is. That does not mean he is not rich. Understand the quotation first, please….

  8. So- the Masquerade has (been) woken up. how interesting.

    Verily, verily I say, the masquerade behind this amorphous glendaROBOT shall eventually be revealed. In due time.

    like Boko Haram!

    We know it. IT is in this Mobility Government. IT is just too powerful for us to name.!

  9. eye_bee_kay:

    Say whatever you want. It does not change the fact that you are twisting the meaning of the quotation. You should always use quotations verbatim. That is why they have quotation marks.

    You are getting lessons from this “ROBOT.”

  10. He he he 😀 Glenda vs eye.bee.kay (round one) *rings*

    Well, I didn’t buy my good old 5230 🙂 just because I wanted to show someone out there that I used a smartphone (as at when it was in vogue).

    I bought it because of it features and what & what I was going to use it for (browsing, studying, blogging, photographing, etc

    I can’t imagine why someone would waste his money on a device and at the end of the day, he only uses it to call-receive, send SMS and listen to music. That’s Stupidity! (permit me to say that)

  11. I beg, whatever will rock their boat joo. I don’t blame those that wanna show off their expensive toys. Once it brings them joy. I have a colleague like that. He has the HD7, BB 9900, BB Touch and the galaxy tab 10.1.. This dude has never sent a single email from any of these devices befire. I use smartphones that can be a little expensive on the average. However, I chose them for what they offer under the hood.

  12. @ deoladoctor, I thought I was one of the few who would hide and use their device away from the gaze of strangers, lol.

    Sorry, never moved in them kind of circles. The people I know who’ve had the money to buy used their device even while they were showing it off.

    I guess if you live in that kind of society it is par for the course. Everyone is trying to out-pose everyone else in one way or another, whilst people like me observe from the sidelines.

  13. Hmmm! Just last week, on the mainland I saw a chic behind the wheel (steering???) Of a Toyota Corolla 200x holding a BB porsche in a death-grip while managing to manipulate the steering. I’m pretty sure that there was plenty of space on the passenger seat for the device…. its not like its Nicki Minaj

  14. I dey craze?

    That kind of thing only happens to the super rich and those that wants to feel among.

    I certainly don’t blame the sure rich but I pity the wannabes.

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