Mobile has changed our lives forever but, at the same time, we’ve gotten so used to our devices and how we can use them that we may not have taken the time to notice just how much our lives have changed. Technology that would have been impossible or miraculous a couple of decades ago is now affordable and commonplace. Most of it’s been good, but some negatives came along with it. Here are some of the parts of our lives that have changed forever.
When Apple told us, “There’s an app for that,” in 2007, it wasn’t kidding. These days, apps can be anything from fun little time wasters we can play during the morning commute, to productivity apps a workaholic can run while they’re gunning for that next promotion. Apps have become the norm across all platforms. We see them on TVs, game consoles and desktop operating systems. We are now even seeing Smart kitchen appliances that use apps – all thanks to mobile.
The price of app development has gone down enough that a company doesn’t have to be on the Fortune 500 list or be some genius that launched a successful KickStarter campaign to make one. Thanks to the market created by the mobile industry, mom and pop stores and other small local businesses can learn how to make an app without big budgets. App makers allow these small companies to build and use an app to compete against global brands.
2. How and When We Communicate
This one is huge and was affecting people even before the Smartphone came along. It all started with texting. Once people got their first cellphones, they may have sent out a text or two to see what it was like, but it didn’t take long for this feature to go from novelty to vital. Those high rates we used to pay before 9 p.m. helped push it along. Mobile made it to where people would have entire conversations via text – all without saying a word.
Mobile has made it possible to send a message or call from virtually anywhere. This has eased the anxiety many people have while going on a trip. If you get stranded, help is only a phone call away. We can keep friends and family updated during important events, and even send pictures and video while it happens. At the very least, we no longer have to keep a wad of quarters for a payphone.
3. Conversation Killer?
As much as mobile has changed how we talk, it has also changed how we don’t talk. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on the situation, and your opinion of high-tech gadgetry.
We have all seen the group of friends sitting at a table in a restaurant, all staring into their phones. It stays quiet, with the occasional person breaking the silence to show everyone something funny they found on their phone. Love or hate it, that’s how it is now. Many people will say that the people here are still communicating, just in a different way. Others will decry the death of human-to-human interaction. Remember this, though. When the telephone gained widespread use and popularity, many thought that talking to people over the phone was shallow and that it should be done properly via a thoughtful and well-written letter. There was indeed an art to letter writing, but the telephone was a faster and more efficient way to communicate and had won out to the lament of great aunt Edna.
Mobile has also made it easier to avoid the conversations we don’t want to have. Have you ever been on a plane with the annoying person who will not shut up about their boring life story filled with TMI moments? Keep your earbuds in place, whether you have music playing or not, and you are less likely to be bothered. Also, the right call or text can make for the perfect exit to a conversation you want to escape.
4. Tech Addicts
Many of us have become addicted to the rush we get from the constant input from social media. Get a like, get a share, and it gives us a little pop of dopamine. It is fun, but it can trick us into sinking an enormous amount of time into pointless pursuits. And if we lose our phones, we proceed to lose our feces. Even forgetting it at home and being without it for a couple of hours drives some people bonkers. We’ve all had that moment where we forget our phone or device, and suddenly find that we have no idea what to do with ourselves.
5. Less Privacy
Businesses track everything we do with cookies, and social media has turned our personal lives into a public forum. Mobile has only furthered this trend.
Some people have opted out of services like Facebook, but no one can live outside the digital shadow, and still be part of the modern world. Even using your phone to compare products in a store won’t go unrecorded to be used by big data. Don’t believe me. Use your phone to look up something on Amazon, and then see what ads end up on your Facebook feed.
Then there is the scary stuff. For years, cybersecurity experts have told us that none of our mobile devices are safe from hacking. Combine that with the recent headlines about how the CIA can use our mobile devices to listen in on us, even when we have them turned off, and you can see how the old idea of privacy is no more. Even if you aren’t worried about the CIA watching you, remember that every other major world intelligence agency can do the same thing.
6. Tech as Fashion
Even before having the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy was a bragging right, there were tons of people who wore their phone like it was a Gucci bag. Do you remember the days when people would whip out their flip-phones in pride, and brag about how their model had the color display? How about when Blackberry was the “It” device for people on the move.
These days, a phone is as much a fashion statement as a pair of Nikes. Imagine how it will be when we start getting designer cybernetics. Tech as fashion will never go away. Even if Apple and Samsung go the way of Blackberry, there will be another company who will make the next must-have phone or device.
7. Mobile Has Connected the World
Those of us from the more industrialized corners of the world have probably grown up taking things like phones for granted. For the rest of the world, the idea of a personal computer, telephone, or the Internet may as well have been what aliens living on another planet had. It was so far removed from their daily lives that the thought of having even an old rotary phone hanging on the wall was an impossible dream. The primary barrier to that dream was the cost of building the infrastructure for enough landlines to reach everyone. Mobile cut out that cost, and now people in some of the most remote areas of the planet have access to wireless communications. It also cut the cost of international calls, allowing more people from all over the world to talk to one another than ever before.
There are certain milestones in people’s live that they can point to as a clear line that separates a distinct time of before and after. It can be the birth of a child, their first job in an incredible career, or some other event, good or bad, that transformed the way they live. That is what mobile has done to every single person on the planet. Assuming you aren’t a millennial, you can remember a very different time in life before cell phones and data plans created a different world. And with the rise of some of the best app makers it will allow mobile to be intertwined in our lives even more.
Andrew Gazdecki is the founder and CEO of Bizness Apps — making mobile apps affordable and simple for small businesses. Bizness Apps is a do-it-yourself iPhone, iPad, Android and HTML5 app platform that allows any small business to simultaneously create, edit, and manage mobile apps without any programming knowledge needed. Think of it as “WordPress for mobile app creation.” Many of its customers are white labeled mobile app makers — marketing or design agencies that use the platform to cost effectively build mobile apps for small business clients.
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