A Day in the Life…

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.)

Not Used: Alarm clock.

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”

Not Used: Alarm clock, land line, phone book.

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.

Not Used: Alarm clock, land line, phone book, newspaper, crappy airport CNN.

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.

Not Used: Alarm clock, land line, phone book, newspaper, crappy airport CNN, pay phone, air phone, books.

 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.

Not Used: Alarm clock, land line, phone book, newspaper, crappy airport CNN, pay phone, air phone, books, metro personnel, maps, outdated bracket sheets from the office pool.

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…

Yes, it's shameless. No, I haven't heard back from @indochino.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “A Day in the Life…

  1. megfrazier

    This post made me laugh. While I also enjoy using my phone for more than just calls/texting, I do keep it to a minimum if I know I have no option to charge up throughout the day. My phone is almost 1.5 years old, and I feel the battery is just getting worse and worse.

    I think it is funny that for you, these apps allow for less planning. For me, I find that I use a good portion of my apps to plan for things whenever I have down time. I will spend time that would normally be used for daydreaming to check out restaurants on opentable, look for hotels on yelp, or make list after list on my notepads.

  2. Awesome post, Ryan. It’s amazing to see how often people use apps on their smartphones in a day and how much these apps have made our lives more convenient. Though, like Meg, I use most of my apps to help organize my life a little better, these apps are extremely useful when unexpected changes occur.

    Before I got a smartphone, my friend used to joke all the time that he was awesome because he could do almost everything because he “had an iPhone”. Though those comments did warrant several (rather many) eye-rolls, ultimately he was right; you can do a considerable amount of stuff with a smartphone, and the consolidation of all those functions makes the smartphone (and indirectly you) awesome.

  3. Great post, Ryan! You have such a great writing style! Moreover, however, I really enjoyed this creative post. It’s interesting to think of how often a day we use SM and rely on it. I have never heard of the Sleep Cycle app, but I want to try it, as I can never get out of bed in the morning. I think that the number of apps and features we have at our disposal is incredible, and can be used in absolutely any forum. Thanks for an entertaining and interesting post!

  4. Loved this narrative! First off, Sleep Cycle App is wonderful. I honestly thought that the App was a scam when I had first downloaded, but after a couple of uses, I have to admit that it does make my mornings more bearable.
    I haven’t really thought about it, but you are absolutely right in the fact that traditional uses for mobile phones are almost unused in a typical day. Looking at my phone, I realized I had only made two phone calls today, even though my phone almost never leaves my sight/hands. It’s also interesting to have you suggest we use texting less and less. Didn’t think texting would ever lose any popularity, but there are so many other competing forms of communication. I actually recently tweeted at someone my whereabouts instead of texting. Most of my social interactions through my phone is done through social games.

    I think the most revealing part of your narrative is how much more efficient and simple these mobile applications have made people’s lives. I know I, along with many people with smart phones, are beginning to take this invaluable tool for granted, but I honestly would rather lose my wallet over my phone, especially considering my phone might replace my wallet soon.

    Thanks Ryan for the refreshing post.

  5. I found this post very interesting, and your presentation of things that you now use as well as what they’ve replaced is really good. I’m definitely in the late majority considering that I won’t be getting a smartphone (for the first time!) until this summer and just this month Nielsen reported that smartphones have finally come 50/50 with feature phones in terms of U.S. ownership. At first I thought that smartphones were a bit gimmicky for the price, but their potential now that so much supported content has been built up around them is quite startling. Many services can be conducted over the web in a traditional manner, but your usage of apps throughout the day shows just how much benefit there can be from streamlining functionality based on specific hardware and use-cases. Additionally, apps like Sleep Cycle open up the possibility of functionality that the internet just can’t do alone.

    For people constantly on the go (and I definitely will be for work next year), smartphones can be indispensable. Thanks for getting me excited, and good luck with that job!

  6. I really liked this post ( and not just because I’m a huge Beatles fan!). It’s crazy how apps and social media have become so enshrined in everything we do. Every aspect of my daily routine is dependent on my phone and the info I receive.

    I didn’t know of the flyer miles you can receive from check-ins so I’ll have to look into it. Again, great post! It’s nice to see someone doing something noticeably different and inventive with their blog

  7. Very cool idea! And you are SO tech-savvy! (But seriously, that Sleep Tracker app seems amazing. Maybe it will help me not feel so terrible in the mornings.)

    This post (and your schedule for that day), however, remind me of any dystopian novel (for instance, the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy) in which a person’s whole day is planned, tracked, and monitored by a computer. It’s almost a little scary how close to reality that idea is and how dependent we are on technology to get us from point A to point B on a daily basis.

  8. What a great idea! I love this post. It was extremely clever. I think everyone should so a post like this at least once this semester to get a grasp on how much they use social media and technology in their daily routine. By looking at the apps you have on your phone and utilze on a daily basis I can immediately tell that you are tech savy. i think you gave me some great ideas for new apps. Great read!!!

  9. Fun post, Ryan. Sounds like the interview went well. Hope they made an offer. It was really helpful to hear about some of these apps because I wasn’t aware of many of them. I think they could be very helpful or, in some cases, just plain entertaining. At the very least I’ve noticed that I get on my phone sometimes but then don’t know what to do. I’m somewhat bored with the apps and games that I have so there’s a part of me that has been itching for some new ways to keep myself busy.

    Did you run into any moments in the day where you lost service or felt too disconnected? And this seems like a bit of an atypical day for you? Do you utilize social media in the same way when you’re not traveling? I’d be curious to know how a typical Ryan day goes with SM.

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