Ten years on: what a difference a decade makes

phonemaster.eu

Image from thefonemaster.eu

As the iPhone celebrates ten-years, we look back and see what a difference a decade makes. After all, once upon a time we had mobile phones to make telephone calls – simple – but now we consider them a lifeline and an essential tool to support our daily lives.

Many of us take for granted the myriad of apps that we can download, as we’ve come to expect that there will be a world wide web full of information at our fingertips, but as sales of the iPhone exceed one billion, making Apple the most valuable business on the globe, is there a darker side to the tech that we rely on?

A study by Deloitte in 2016 found that four out of every five people have a smart phone, that’s a huge number and it just proves that we have all become somewhat dependent on our electronic devices. The study also went on to say that with the fear of missing out means that we access our phones during the morning, noon and night with many people admitting that they check their screens as soon as they wake up.

I also read an article recently which said that children no longer use their imaginations in the same way as their parents did as they never have the chance to get bored. What an awful thought. The impact of technology means that children are constantly amused and as such don’t need to make things up or create new games – it’s all done for them.

When the iPhone first launched Steve Jobs was quoted as saying “This is only the beginning”, and perhaps retrospectively this was a huge understatement as consumers eagerly anticipate the launch of the iPhone 8, which will bring with it further user benefits.

No longer is it good enough that we can research, engage, share, photograph, navigate and video using our phones, we expect even more from them, further embedding them into our everyday lives.

What we seem to ignore, while we await the next big thing in technology, is that phones aren’t always used for good. Consider for example how they are used for bullying in schools, something that young people have come to expect, but which should never, ever be socially accepted.

Then there are consumer complaints; we all know that we can tweet a brand and that they ‘should’ get back to us but we’ve come to expect an immediate response.

What surprises me is that people believe that they have the god given right to be rude to people when they are complaining online. I can’t understand how they don’t realise that there is still someone who has to deal with their comments on the other side of the computer and that they are probably not directly responsible for the fault or reason that an individual is disgruntled.

We all need to take a step back and to think a little more. It’s not ok to be rude and it’s not ok to feel that we can harass and berate someone because they work for a brand. Be polite. Be courteous. Treat other people like you would want to be treated!

Don’t get me wrong, there are clearly great things about having a device that can support and facilitate everyday life and that allows us to keep in touch with family and friends on a daily basis across the globe, but perhaps it is time to stop and think.

Do we rely too much on our phones and what benefits are they really bringing to our lives? Brands can use them to collate data and to target us with marketing messages to influence our purchases, while apps such as Snapchat are using GPS to show the world where we are and what we are doing.

There comes a point where you can have too much of a good thing and I think that when we are reaching for our phones at bedtime rather than our partners it is a clear example of misguided priorities.

Steve Jobs was right, it is only the beginning but let’s all hope it isn’t the beginning of the end. As a professional working in communication I want to champion chatter that doesn’t require a WIFI password or a log in.