#TruthIs I Ran the Family Cell Plan Up $500 in 7th Grade Because of Data Usage

I’ve always thought of myself as being an early adopter of technology. Maybe it’s because I had an iPhone before Apple made it available to all service providers (only good thing about AT&T), maybe it’s because I’ve been called a tech loser a few times for I read blogs about new digital technologies on occasion. Regardless, I’ve always tried to stay relevant with what is new, what is trending, and what is coming soon. When I was middle school, I did my fair share of hashtagging irrelevant things on Twitter and would definitely share too much of my uneventful life on Facebook. I am glad [horrified] to have Timehop to remind me of the many [cringe-worthy] posts that I inevitably stumble upon every day such as the two below from today’s roundup.

But looking back at the evolution of my social media presence, I now see it as a “training” I was going through. I learned to adapt to changes in platforms (like when Facebook made your status start with “Gabby is…” for a while) and I was always expanding my knowledge of new apps and websites. Us Millennials have grown up on social media and because of this, I think our expectations for digital technology have heightened as we become more sophisticated, more mature, and, unfortunately, a lot busier. One of the most important things I learned (and probably the only thing I remember) from Computers in Management class is that technology is never a source of sustainable competitive advantage. One reason is because we demand excellence in the digital world and will move quickly to something else if a platform doesn’t address our needs (RIP Myspace).

Because I witnessed so much change and acceleration in product development, it is something I expect from social media platforms. I expect Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. to get “better”– whatever that may mean. This notion, I know, must be extremely frustrating for developers because, generally people know what they don’t like, but it is much harder to articulate what they do like/want. I also expect other services to become a part of my life to make my day-to-day functions easier. And yet, there are so many services that would make my life easier, but I am either unaware of them, unable to use them, they depend on network effects, or I just don’t want to use them.

While writing this post, I looked through my phone to explore the apps I have that I thought would add value to my life. The following are the apps that I occasionally use, but certainly get annoyed with.

  1. Google Drive

This app’s benefits are outweighed by its weaknesses to me. When I go on Drive I see many many different types of files; Google Docs, Photoshop files, Google Spreadsheets, and so on. I don’t know if it’s a lot for me to ask (I am not familiar with how applications process files, etc.) but from a user’s standpoint, it is incredibly inconvenient for me to see this message pop up when trying to open a document:

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As a user trying to access a photoshop file, it is not that I am trying to do photoshop on my phone, I am merely trying to view the file. For me to get another app just to view this picture is wasting my time. The same goes for Google Spreadsheets. Having an entirely different app is a huge deterrent for me and decreases my user experience. Google has done a great job in the digital world as far as working with a computer goes, however, I think they have a long way to go to simplify the mobile experience.

P.S. I also just discovered I have the “Google Home” app on my phone which relates to my tweet about pointless apps. This seems to be an app that routes you to other apps. Classic Google I guess!

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  1. IFTTT

Admittedly, I may not be using this app to its fullest potential, but many of its annoyances have caused me to put this app in a random folder in my phone, forgetting about it most of the time until I get a notification once in a blue moon about wearing a raincoat tomorrow. To me, this is a counterintuitive/hard to use app that seems like it just notifies me about things that I already get notifications for like being tagged in something on Facebook. However, I will definitely need to give this app another look because it was on Tom’s Guide of “Best Productivity Apps” and for some reason, I trust Tom.

  1. Bandsintown

This app is kind of random, but it has been pretty useless in my experience. It is supposed to take information from Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, and other accounts you verify to let you know what performers will be in your area. I find the formula they use to suggest music groups to be unhelpful, seeing as I typically find out about many performers’ tour dates before the app tells me or without the app in general. This may need to be taken off my phone soon.

  1. Google Hangouts

I know I already attacked Google apps already but this app is just downright frustrating to me. It’s slow, old looking, and there are far superior messaging apps.

This is me trying to send a picture and the app taking forever to load (as it does on other people’s phones as well-I’ve asked).
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When I began this blog post, I wasn’t intending to rant about apps, but in today’s world, mobile apps are really the main route for users interacting with platforms. To create a good app is not enough. To create an app that satisfies its purpose, while also being easy to use is something that is imperative for a company’s success. Digital business is changing rapidly, as it has since its inception. In order for companies to succeed in this environment, there are standards that Millennials, the people who grew up on technology, are demanding. So when considering the state of social media and digital business, my mind, unfortunately, goes to the companies not doing a great job. I look forward to exploring companies that are exploiting the technology available to them and seeing how it enhances the customer experience and perception of brands. 

5 comments

  1. terencenixdorf · ·

    I think you make a really great point about the state of digital business and how technology companies have to hit the standards of what us Millennials want while also catering to their entire audience. The first thing that comes to my mind has been the seemingly 5 year long petition for Facebook to add a dislike button. Instead, they added those four or five emojis to react to a post. When I first saw that, I thought it was ridiculous and how I would never use that. A couple of days after that Facebook release last year, I was on a phone interview and they asked me how I felt about that in the context of the digital business. With regards to its effect on digital marketing, I actually figured it could be quite useful for advertisers to get more concrete reactions from their targeted audience and would allow them to better use analytics. I’m not sure how many companies actually exploit features like these but it’s definitely something to watch going forward. Social Media platforms have absolutely changed shifted the way that ad agencies do their jobs and I think you’re totally right that it’s changing rapidly and will continue to do so.

  2. duffyfallon · ·

    Catchy title! I’ve done the same thing. I haven’t heard of the TimeHop app you use, but I’m certain I would also cringe if I looked back on my early days on social media. You’re spot on in your comment regarding the degree of change and acceleration in product development we’ve witnessed in our lifetime. I remember when my mom got her first Nokia brick-esque cell phone, when my family got our first Mac desktop, and when my dad had a ‘mobile’ phone in the center counsel of his car. It’s exciting to imagine what we’ll whiteness in the 10, 20, 30 years ahead.

  3. katherinelgold · ·

    Loved that you included screenshots from Timehop! I also dutifully check Timehop each day, cringing and laughing at my old statuses. I’m glad you broke down why you are annoyed with certain apps. I particularly agree about the Google Drive app. What boggles my mind is that counterintuitive interfaces and confusing apps should logically be a problem of smaller app developers. It’s hard to know what people want out of an app when you’re just starting out. But the fact that a giant like Google still fails at making easy-to-use apps is just crazy to me. I would love to see a justification for why apps maintain annoying features. Why does Google Drive require separate phone apps for sheets, docs, and slides? I understand that drives more overall downloads, but it’s highly inconvenient. Same thing with Facebook and Facebook messenger–it bothers me that I have to open a separate app to check my messages. Would love to see an analysis of why that is.

  4. erinfitzpatrick123 · ·

    I really like the #truthis title as well – it brings back all the cringe-worthy stuff we used to do like ranking our friends on Myspace or updating our AIM profiles every 5 minutes. But I actually forgot the idea of technology not being a sustainable competitive advantage until you brought it up, and since I took that class freshman year I have definitely seen that grow more throughout my other classes, as we looked at companies that thought they could sustain their market share or profitability solely due to their technology. For example, Pandora (or maybe even mashable before them-I don’t know much about that), but they were eventually beaten out by Spotify, or Tivo. I think technology can only be a competitive advantage if the company constantly is aware of what’s coming next and adapting, even if they end up disrupting themselves, like Netflix did (look how they turned out!)

  5. You have me beat. In my 7th grade year, I spent $150 on an online service called Quantum Link (which would eventually be renamed “America Online”). In 2017 dollars, that only comes up to $350.

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