The Mobile Marketer

Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business

The latest mobile phone status symbol…Apparently it’s now cool to be cracked!

3 Comments

While they haven’t started smashing their smartphones on purpose (or have they?), young people are turning their cracked cellphone screens into the latest in shabby chic. Or is that trashy tech?

While they haven’t started smashing their smartphones on purpose (or have they?), young people are turning their cracked cellphone screens into the latest in shabby chic. Or is that trashy tech?

cracked

“It’s an accident when it drops, but nobody wants to pay the money to get it fixed,” explained 18-year-old Kaitlyn Wilson of Liberty, Mo., who recently was visiting a Kansas City, Mo., Apple store. “So, whatever, you have a cracked phone. If you were the only person with a cracked screen, you would probably run out to get it fixed. But everybody else’s is cracked, so why not leave it?

“Then Sharpie it, and make a design out of it on Pinterest.”

Sharpie it?

“Color it in,” said Wilson, a student at Maple Woods Community College. “I’ve had friends that tried to crack their screen on purpose so they could Sharpie it.”

Others have used food coloring or nail polish to add color to the cracks.

“My phone was cracked for a long time, and then my friend’s phone cracked, too, and she was like, ‘Oh look! Look what happened!’ ” Wilson said. “You know, excited about it. She just didn’t care to get it fixed.”

Even young people who don’t regard a cracked screen as cool aren’t immediately seeking repairs, said Brett Butler, 18, who just graduated from Lathrop (Mo.) High School.

“After my friend dropped her phone and had it crack, she went five months before having it fixed,” Butler said. “And then a week after getting it fixed, she dropped it and it cracked again. This time she decided she’d just leave it because it wasn’t worth the hassle. It still worked, and she could still see her screen.”

A cracked phone that still works can be meaningful, said Mark Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory University and author of “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.”

“A cellphone is their peer umbilical cord, their whole social life,” he said. “But it’s a fragile instrument. So in a way a cracked cellphone that still works means, ‘Hey, my phone may have hit the ground, but it’s a survivor.’ And by extension the phone’s owner is a survivor, too, because it’s a reflection of them.”

And an expression of individuality.

“The problem is all of these smartphones are pretty much the same,” Bauerlein said. “The crack on the screen makes it unique.”

Further, it shows the owner has “been around.”

“Kids want to be cool and worldly and independent,” he said. “Their beat-up cellphone shows that they’re experienced. It gives them a kind of street cred.”

But the trend comes with a caveat. Cracked screens are only cool if you have the means to fix them. Without insurance, professional repairs can cost hundreds, and do-it-yourself options online are dicey.

“Only if you’re fairly comfortable can you regard the cases of deterioration or damage to your cellphone as a sign of status,” Bauerlein said. “If you’re poor, then it’s just damaged.”

Adults, apparently, aren’t on board with this trend.

In a Best Buy store in Overland Park, Kan., Janet Martin was checking out the latest Android smartphones. Her badly cracked Samsung Galaxy S3 sat nearby on a counter. Martin, a substitute teacher in her mid-40s, didn’t think the cracks were cool or a status symbol.

“Are you kidding?” she said. “I feel terrible with this. It’s definitely new phone time.”

The trend toward keeping cracked screens concerned her.

“Frankly, that kind of bugs me,” she said.

“My daughter just got an iPhone, and I bought the insurance,” she said. “If this really is the coming trend, and she’s not going to want it repaired or replaced, why did I waste my money on the coverage?”

A spokeswoman for Apple declined to say whether sales of the company’s Apple Care insurance policies were up or down in the last year.

But Ryan Arter, owner of Mission Repair, a cellphone repair business in Olathe, Kan., has seen the effects of the trend.

“My son cracked his screen and he said, ‘Dad, look at how cool this is. I’m going to leave it this way,’ ” Arter said. “And he has a father who owns a business fixing these phones!

“I finally convinced him after a couple of weeks that there was danger to leaving it cracked. One, it can further crack, and shards of glass can go in your hands or your face. In addition, that screen protects the electronics inside the phone. If it’s cracked, the ability for liquid or sweat to get in and further damage it is increased.

“It does look kind of neat. But eventually the phone will start losing functions. And then it could be a more costly repair if you wait to have it fixed.”

Meghan Reynolds, another teen with a cracked cellphone, isn’t worried.

“My contract’s up in four months anyway” the 17-year-old Overland Park, Kan., girl said. “I’m just going to ride it out. And if I can be cool while doing it? Bonus!”

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The latest mobile phone status symbol…Apparently it’s now cool to be cracked!

  1. I always knew I was a trendsetter 🙂

    Like

  2. Pingback: The latest mobile phone status symbol…Apparently it’s now cool to be cracked! | Kenneth Carnesi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s