The first Popsockets gripper I plastered to my phone's rear-end was a freebie gift thing I received from some company’s swag bag. Amidst the magnets, notebooks, business cards, and other marketing ephemera, there it was: the circular doodad that has leapfrogged selfie-sticks as the must-have mobile accessory for our smartphone-saturated society. When I fished it out of the tote, I felt secretly delighted. Then I felt sort of dopey.
I had long coveted the PopSockets gripper I saw on other people's phones, but I had refused to buy one of my own. To me, they had a reputation as a frivolous tool meant to assist the selfie-obsessed, and I feared that once I had one, all my pictures would be front-facing and covered in animal ears.
When I pressed the PopSocket to my phone, the stiff glue felt more than semi-permanent—it felt world altering. Giving in to the gripper felt like an admission of my addiction to my phone, that my device is constantly in my hand or within reach. The alien bulge now attached to its back signaled that my phone is an extension of myself, and I had reached a place where I needed a tool to make it ergonomically more enjoyable to hold.
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