“Before apps, when there were attention spans, before “I’ve got five bars,” when bars were for boozing, before ring-tone selection, when the phone rang, before high-net-worth individuals, when love was all you needed, before hype, when there was Hendrix, we got by just the same.” - Roger Cohen (Globalist)
Yesterday I was reminded of the above passage in an op-ed written by Roger Cohen titled Change or Perish. I was on my way to a meeting. It was around 10:15 AM and I spotted a line at least twenty deep outside the Apple Store. The scene validated for me how app crazed we have become.
Fact: The American Dialect Society named “app” the word of the year for 2010 thanks to its popularity. Apps is the abbreviation for application, a piece of specially programmed software that helps us navigate the world and makes our lives more manageable (time). Apps can run on the Internet, our computer, our smartphone, our tablet or other electronic devices like connected TV’s, the next major platform for app growth. Every time a product is developed for a different gizmo, thanks to each platform requiring a different code from developers, it counts as an app. Consequently, Mobilewalla reported that the one millionth app went to market in the beginning of December. Back in May, Apple indicated that 37 percent of their approved 500,000 apps were free and estimated that their paid apps had an average selling price of $3.64. Android operating systems have their own set of apps. Mobilewalla estimated they released over 500 a day earlier this month. 9 out the top 10 paid apps for the iPhone at the Apple store are games; Tetris® and Angry Birds are at the top of the list. The number one grossing app is MLB.com designed for Major League Baseball fans. Facebook, Skype and the Weather Channel are free. Pages is a powerful, useful app for your mobile device that helps organize your documents/reading materials. You can use your Starbucks app (either on your iPhone or Android) to locate the closest Starbucks, pay for your favorite Starbucks drink, then use your smartphone to scan an in-store QR code to watch a video about their Caffe Verona blend, check in on Foursquare in case there are some friends nearby, before you tap your free Epicurious app when you sit down to plan your upcoming dinner party, etc. etc. etc.
At this point there is an app or an app in development for everything except the missing app, the personal touch. Remember handwritten thank you notes, birthday cards or better yet Christmas cards. When was the last time you celled up a really close friend to have a lengthy, one-on-one conversation to catch-up versus posting your latest activity on Facebook? When was the last time you interfaced with the checkout individual at your local supermarket or even the barista at your regular Starbucks? When was the last time you interfaced with a bank teller? Do you know your neighbors names? Disclaimer: I am an urban dweller. I cannot even remember the last time someone got into the elevator in my building, we said hello to each other, exited the elevator and engaged in the lobby, face-to-face for a few minutes.
Have you lost your personal touch?