Today marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most innovative creations in technology- the Apple iPhone.
Of the development, the most revolutionary feature was the internet interface, basically placing the worldwide web in our pockets with lightning speed of data access.
While the iPhone hasn’t been the sole technological change in our societal behaviors, and it definitely is not the only source, it has been one of the leaders in the market of smartphones. Collectively these advances have changed our entire way of life.
We used to spend times in bars, lounges and other public areas discussing and arguing facts. Hours would pass as we debated and conversed about various historical or current events, community situations and personal plights. Now, in the age of technology, there’s far less argument or debate to be had… we are always two clicks away from the “facts” or “proof” and those length conversations are reduced to a matter of minutes, one to state your position, one for it to be challenged, and one to find the “evidence” online. That’s just one way our lives and interactions have changed with the development of technology.
Besides that, do we even talk anymore? How many times have you seen (or been guilty of) this:
Lost the art of storytelling?
Ran out of things to say to eachother?
Found a passive-aggressive way to deal with uncomfortable situations?
Or all of the above….. in lieu of simply communicating the old-fashion way, through talking face-to-face.
Generations have increased text usage over voice minutes over the last 10 years exponentially. Many service providers are bulking up on the texting packages vice the voice minutes because more usage is spent typing a message than answering or calling a phone. The convenience, the privacy, and the ability to communicate with multiple people in a matter of seconds outweighs the familiarity of a phone call. It also detracts from the intimacy that can evolve from that one-on-one conversation.
Dependency & Memory
Consider life without smartphones. Unimaginable isn’t it? Although I personally remember the days before I even knew what a smartphone was, and I remember being perfectly happy, nowadays I have to do a complete u-turn if I leave home without it. My entire day: calendar appointments, reminders, notes to myself, photos of important items, scans and emails for reference, etc gone. What a tragedy!
And what about PHONE NUMBERS?! Who even memorizes them anymore?
May you never become incarcerated … your one phone call will be to whoever’s number you were raised to remember… “hello …grandma?”
Not to mention all of the business apps and communication apps I have for my friends overseas. What’s a girl to do without her lifeline?
Travel & Adventure
When’s the last time you got lost? The last time you pulled out a paper map? The last time you travelled with the intent of letting adventure find YOU? Nowadays everything is preprogrammed, apps have built in alerts, they tell you what’s ahead without you even seeing it. The suspense or thrill of letting life find you if overtaken by the use of the smartphone and uploaded apps and associated gadgets.
Photography used to be an artist hobby. It enhanced the sentimental value of polaroids, scrapbooks, photo albums, picture collages (on store-bought poster board with glitter glue and handwriting in markers).
Now, photography is a daily activity, and unfortunately is the basis of so many apps that promote the equivalency of “likes” to “quality”, “beauty”, “value”.. but in reality, the essence of a photo has actually lost its value in this process.
If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a wave of self-esteem “boosters and killers” created by the introduction and rampid use of Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter and other forms of “immediate recognition, gratification, or rejection” inferred by a culmination of likes and attention from complete strangers.
Suicide rates, depression, and other emotional instabilities are more prevalent now than in former years. Albeit, not all attributable to technology, we can’t deny it is a factor. Instant access, instant impact.
Multiple news and media outlets have emphasized the role that social media plays on the emotional stability of our community, through effects on self esteem, presence of cyber-bullying, impact of self-loathing and a need to gain a feeling of worth and acceptance through “clicks” especially in the youth. Time Magazine reported in 2016,
It’s hard for many adults to understand how much of teenagers’ emotional life is lived within the small screens on their phones, but a CNN special report in 2015 conducted with researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Texas at Dallas examined the social-media use of more than 200 13-year-olds. Their analysis found that “there is no firm line between their real and online worlds,” according to the researchers.
Your social media accounts are used as background checks nowadays. Potential love interests do a cyber-stalking session on every media outlet from their cell phone, scrolling through photos, posts, videos and anything else they can see just to determine if they want to meet you to see you again – rather than just normal meeting and greeting. They want to know ahead of time, who are you… and they think that can be inferred from a screen versus interaction and conversation.
Potential employers do the same. The pilfer through any site they can looking for any red-flags or indicators that would fear them in a direction to hire you or consider other applicants. Again, judging and making assumptions and inferences from a screen.
And then on a daily basis, you’re being tracked. Nearly every app has a location tracer.
Ever get tired of that? And where exactly is this data going?
Or how about this… I didn’t even know “frequent locations” were even being stored … and for what??
So at the end of the day, yes we’ve gained a lot and there have been wonderful ancillary benefits from our advances… but we lost some important, intangible aspects of humanity along the way.
Do over…. course correct… or keep the pace?
After all, if it wasn’t for technology, you wouldn’t be reading this post.
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