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.
- 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:
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!
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.
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.
- 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).
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.