Towering cells: Smartphones cast dark shadow over certain jobs

The Buggles’ famous song repeated, “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

Well, the cellphone has killed music stores, video rental places, the photo department, mapmakers and bookstores. And this double-edged sword is eyeing more things pre-Millennials used to enjoyed in our everyday lives.

While somebody my age, 36, enjoys the luxuries of these smartphones, we do remember landlines, MapQuest, a grocery list, tripping over the cable cord, standing in bank lines and reading information on paper.

As we wait on the latest iPhone, LG, Samsung and even Blackberry, here is my list of the top 10 jobs the cell phone is currently affecting negatively.

10. Journalist

No secret the daily newspaper industry is suffering. As reporters have enjoyed using a cellphone as a tape recorder, notebook, GPS and even camera, the device is making the need to have a physical paper in hand unnecessary.

As for the profession itself, most of the information people read and share from their phones come from journalists and trusted media sources. But the pool of information has become murky with social media’s influence of everyday folks’ contributions. The cell is proving we need more seasoned and honorable journalists with good morale compasses. And we must have the judgment to discern news from fake news.

9. Auto mechanic

As long as cars, trucks, vans and other motorized vehicles are heavy with parts too difficult to reach, we will need mechanics. But thanks to YouTube and a quick Google search, the DIY crowd can go grab the parts and take a stab at repairing their own vehicles.

Quick piece of advice if you do go to a mechanic for a repair: Don’t try to impress him or her with your phone knowledge. They seem not to like that too much.

8. Computer repair person

The sales of personal computers has dropped the past seven years, including a 6 percent decline in 2016. With laptops, tablets and smartphones replacing the functions of the PC, people are not making room in their homes for the machine.

With our on-the-go society, it is nice having a computer in your pocket. So when the smartphones is misbehaving it’s time to visit your local cellphone store to get it repaired. If your computer is acting up, it becomes a collector of dust. Computers only seem to have use in offices and for businesses.

7. Car salesperson

In the market for a new car? Go to the Apple Store or Play Store to download your preferred app. Then follow the steps listed on your phone. If you have any questions about the car you have targeted, just check Carfax. Then set up your payment and the place where you will pick up the vehicle. Pretty simple and no pressure!

6. Retail clerk

Never been a big shopper. Usually I get clothes through donations by loving family members, friends and staff at Goodwill. When I’m in desperate need of some apparel, I will make the dreaded trip to a clothing store.

So the trend of online shopping never affected me. Now advanced shoppers are using their phones to get the latest styles and fashion musts. There is no need for a person greeting you, grabbing pieces and checking you out at the register.

5. Telephone

Do telephone operators still exist? And you rarely see a telephone repair truck anymore. But the guys who work on cell towers are a common sight if you look up 150 feet into the sky.

In 2016, 50.8 percent of U.S. homes only had a cellphone provider. And I’m sure that number is still trending up.

4. Bank teller

Wait, I need to transfer some money out of my savings account into my checking. Back in the early 2000s that meant a trip to my bank for at least 30 minutes before I was able to interact with a teller to get that transaction done. Now I tap my icon on my home screen, enter my password and username. Then 30 seconds later the transfer is done. Mobile banking takes care of several things a bank and bank teller could only handle back in the day.

3. Cable repair person

Streaming devices: YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and the Amazon Fire TV Stick have made that thick black cord obsolete. If you see a cable truck these days, it’s hooking up internet for Wi-Fi purposes. With the prices of cable networks going up like ESPN, HBO and others, catching live “TV” on your phone is the newest and hottest trend.

2. Printer

Kindle and iBooks cut down on the need for big bulky books. Newspapers are now treated like a keepsake and novelty item. No more phone books. Business cards are looked at as foreign objects by anybody under 25. Trees have fallen in love with this trend of cell phones being used to store contacts, set up appointments, send out reminders and are the new standard for RSVPs.

Ink, pens, pencils and markers are also victims in this. Paper used to be the vessel of information whether it was your report card or front page news. Now all that can be accessed with a couple of clicks on your smartphone.

1. Photographer

This weekend I was on a photo assignment with the 2018 Millington Central High School salutatorian. After snapping a few pictures of her and family members, she realized she needed a picture to make her invitations for the upcoming graduation. With my camera broken down and in the bag, she hands me her iPhone to take the pic she’ll use to request the attendance of her loved ones to one of the most important events of her young life.

I’ve seen cellphone pictures on billboards, political signs, business cards, menu and various advertisements. Photographers are being overlooked. The quality work and professionalism they provide is being overruled by convenience and narcissism. No longer do we have backdrop screens. It’s been replaced with the driver’s seat and the seat belt across the shoulder.

I bet one word that cannot be spoken in any photographer’s home is “selfie.”

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star. Contact him at (901) 433-9138 or