App Overload

{Technology} food for thought: App Overload

“Technology,” in the not too distant past (think just a few decades ago), used to be much more exciting. Because it evolved at a much slower pace, any new technological “breakthroughs” had elements of incredible improvements (think: CD sound vs. LP or cassette). But why is it that in today’s “app overload” culture, we get 10x more excited about what amount to only minor, incremental improvements?

Or even human “downgrades?”

how many apps do you really need

An app for everything – and you buy it hook, line and sinker

There are so many people in so many places developing an “app” for something at this very second. Because it doesn’t require any raw materials (other than programming knowledge – and “who you know”,) it allows for such fierce competition. Plus, the digital marketplace is almost limitless.

You ever have what might be considered a really good idea? 99.9999% chance someone has already thought of it – and is 100 steps ahead of you (and that goes for almost anything, not just technology).

But that doesn’t stop people from trying.

There are so many apps now – even the tech-savvy might be surprised. Ever been to a place called “Product Hunt?” It’s an online “hub” for a myriad of apps that are currently in active development and even available now. It’s mind-boggling what people are developing apps for, such as:

  • “What’s nearby” – location-based apps that let you, get this, talk to other real, live human beings. Holy crap!
  • “Personal Assistants” – Apps to make easy everyday tasks even easier for the lazy folks, so they can have more time to download more apps to almost eliminate the need to move whatsoever.
  • “Dating” – No surprise, the removal of humanity from humanity requires a digital portal to meet someone to date.

And countless more. But what is astonishing, is that people are buying into it, money is flowing like floodwaters in Hoboken, and hardly a peep from the majority asking “wait a minute – perhaps we need to think a bit more about this revolution?”

App overload also equals market saturation

It dawned on me while looking at so many of these available options – that only a handful of them will reach a massive audience (and look what happens when they do – hello Yelp).

app overloadSure, it’s possible that all these little “apps” may in fact eventually equate to the “small businesses” of the brick and mortar world.

For instance, take Drizly (the beer delivery app we talked about earlier this week). They only have a select few markets. They naturally start out where there is enough income potential.

I guess someone needs to develop an app store that is entirely specific to your geographical area? Who knows, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

Just because there’s an app – do you need to jump head first?

Sure, I understand how the mentality of “wow, that’s pretty neat!” might compel someone to download it, use it, etcetera. But these days, I think a majority of heavy smart-phone users just blindly start loading up on “the next neat app” for more than one reason:

  • Desperately seeking that new, fresh feeling. Lack of contentment in today’s world. Need something to talk about, tout or share with others.
  • Need another reason to use their smart phone. During “status update” lulls, it must be an empty feeling to not have a use for the phone. So why not download something, consume and go into debt more?
  • Suckers for hype. Yes, some apps are fairly ingenious, or fill a legitimate need of some kind. But more often than not – they’re probably unnecessary.

Like I said, there may be a very small number apps that fulfill a real need. Perhaps Uber is a quintessential example. They added a necessary layer of transparency to the personal transportation industry – which was probably not possible without the use of technology. Fair enough.

But I’d never use the booze app Drizly, for example. One, I enjoy going to the store and talking to real people in person. I prefer “stocking up” and always having inventory on hand. Plus, you cannot get regular wine tastings on your stupid phone!

“Do I really need that?”

Do you really need that appI guess the main purpose of this essay is to create a spark in your mind – or to slap people with the sting of reality: How reliant do YOU want to become on a soulless computer device in your hands?

Or how complicated you’ve made your life with the dozens of things you can “do” now, that your probably did not do prior to having such a technological “ability?”

How much more fulfilling is your life now that you have been “informed” about all the other tidbits of information (videos, haha, lol) that people have stuffed into your timeline?

How many projects or things have gone by the wayside because you didn’t have time (or patience) for them?

Have your read a book recently?

I guess some other good questions to ask when you download that latest “app” are – “what has now been removed from my life now that I replaced it with a digital robot?” and “How much better is my life – really?”

Have a good day and enjoy the upcoming weekend of more selfies and tapping away!

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Thanks for this. Hardly anyone turns back and questions what it all means. I’m GenY and have started to truly distance myself from my friends and acquaintances because no one likes to talk about anything meaningful anymore. Such a hollow, superficial life when all you talk about is online happenings. I try to get my friends (if that is what you want to call them) interested in history, economics or sociology, and they give me a blank look in return. But you will be rejected as a nobody without an online identity that is exciting, sexy and mysterious. Who are we becoming?