Ever since I’ve started analyzing social media and mobile technology specifically, I’ve wanted to do an analysis of exactly how much I use it in a day. This isn’t just to talk about myself and how tech savvy I am (this, of course, goes without saying) but really to take note of the impact that these technologies have on how I carry out my day, and how it’s different from the way things used to be. So I chose last Friday, an action packed day of travel and intrigue…
3:47am “Woke up… fell out of bed… analyzed my sleep patterns for irregularities…”
Wait, what? So things have changed a bit since 1967 (and I don’t use a comb). I also don’t wake up to a tinny sounding alarm clock dialed to the local morning radio zoo crew. Thanks to my Sleep Cycle alarm clock iPhone app, my motions during sleep are monitored and I’m gently woken up at the time during a chosen window when I’m in my lightest sleep cycle. Seriously. And I can choose to wake up to any song on my iPhone (Save It for a Rainy Day, by the Jayhawks. Try it out.)
5:05am “And looking up, I noticed I was late…”
Not late, exactly, but getting there. My Flight Tracker app buzzed reminding me that my flight was scheduled to depart in two hours, and I was still in the comfort of my living room. After confirming with my JetBlue app that there hadn’t been any delays, I found the nearest cab company in Google Places and clicked on the provided phone number. “In seconds flat”
6:00am “I read the news today, oh boy…”
I arrive at the airport and quickly “check in” at the Official JetBlue Terminal on Facebook. I’ll shamelessly do their marketing for them for a free 100 flyer points. Safely through security with a half hour until boarding, I turned to Twitter to see if anything newsworthy was happening at this ungodly hour. Of course, the linked-to story I want to read is a subscription only Wall St. Journal article. If only there was an app for that and I already had a subscription on the same device (there is, and I do). But I have the attention span of an infant and quickly glance at the TV. Why is every airport TV on the planet turned to CNN? I’d much rather watch ESPN. On my phone. So I did.
8:30am “I’d love to turn you on…”
My phone, that is. But I can’t because we’re finally ascending after an hour and a half on the tarmac. That’s OK though, because as I was waiting and playing Chess with Friends with my fiancé, I used the built in chat function to let her know that I’d be late. Texting is so 2008. Not nearly social enough. As we reach cruising altitude I flip on Airplane Mode and fire up the Kindle app for some morning reading. What’s this? 27 other people have highlighted this paragraph? I gotta get in on that! That’s right, even reading a book, by myself, is now social.
10:00am “Well I just had to laugh…”
… as I checked in on Facebook at DC’s Official JetBlue Terminal for another 100 points. After locating the address for this morning’s job interview on Google Maps I consulted the DC Metro’s app that gives me real-time arrivals on all Metro lines to find the quickest route there. I arrive plenty early for my 12:00 appointment, relax, and check my live NCAA bracket before going in there and knocking their socks off.
Now this is only half of my day, but I’ll leave things there. Why? Because a good job interview calls for a few drinks, and the second half of the day isn’t quite as clear in my memory as the first half. Anyway, the thing that strikes me most about all of these uses for social media and mobile technology is the number of things that they replace. Even if I don’t plan ahead, my phone has books, newspapers, itineraries, maps, and multiple methods of communication if things go wrong. All of these things would have had to be planned and packed ahead of time even 15 years ago. In the same way that people don’t need to make plans with each other before they go out anymore, we hardly need to plan before we take trips either. As we’ve discussed in class, maybe it does make us a little more helpless without our devices, but I’ll take it.
And how about the free stuff?! 200 JetBlue points just for showing up. I’ll admit though, I may have tried a little too hard…