This past Thanksgiving break gave me an ample amount of time to think and reflect on my classes this past semester, especially Social Media and Digital Business. With the spirit of thanks in the Californian air, I couldn’t help but wonder which uses of technology I am most thankful for. Just for the purpose of being detailed, yet brief, I decided to list out the 5 (Golden Rings!) technology companies or products I am most thankful for.
Just a few years ago, I struggled to pay friends back in cash, and I never had access to an ATM without a withdrawal fee. Unfortunately being from California comes with its downsides of being a CitiBank customer instead of Bank of America. Going out to lunches and dinners with friends was a process when deciding how to pay, especially if I went out in a large group. Venmo came into my life as a second semester freshman at BC, and I have truly never looked back. Throughout my time at BC and abroad, Venmo has saved me when I needed help the most—all of those times I have been #VenmoRich with a low checking account, had no cash on me, or had to charge someone for an Airbnb split in a country with a foreign currency. As long as I have my phone, it’s as if I have money on my person at all times, even when it’s not there physically.
Going to school in Boston—all the way across the country from home—granted a no-car life for my four years in Massachusetts. From getting to the airport on time, to Uberpooling to the grocery store, Uber allows me to navigate my way around Boston with complete ease. Instead of taking a crowded ride into the city on the Green Line, my friends and I split UberXLs at a cost only a little more than a swipe of a Charlie Card, while saving an incredible amount of time. Despite having many close calls with accidents thanks to the dangerous drivers of Boston, Uber has continually provided a great service to me since I started using the service freshman year. The option to split fares, join an Uberpool, see fares transparently, and add multiple destinations has improved the service significantly since its inception. Although the company as a whole has taken many missteps, the ease and convenience of using Uber is not one I can pass up anytime soon. I only hope they continue to struggle so I can receive more discounted rides throughout the cold winter months.
Nothing quite excites me more than curling up with a bowl of popcorn and a nice Netflix show or movie. Whenever I have a significant amount of downtime, I rely on Netflix to tell me what movies and shows I would be interested in. With years of data on my interests, Netflix consistently recommends offerings that I enjoy, whether it is a new murder-mystery documentary, a Netflix original show, or an old comedic favorite. I have endless options as movies and shows are constantly curated towards each individual user, being added each day. Not only does Netflix’s recommendation system set them apart from other competitors, but also the company intelligently uses this data when deciding what original content to produce, such as the latest and greatest Stranger Things. This content further sets Netflix apart because it isn’t found through any other service. Additionally, Netflix does a great job at keeping users on the site by offering full seasons of television shows, continual play, and no commercials all through the company’s subscription model, which has been garnering much attention from cable companies. Now I can access Netflix on my laptop, phone, and television with no hassle, and as more and more shows come out, I will remain a loyal Netflix user well into the future.
As my favorite form of social media, Instagram takes a spot on my top 5 list. I particularly like Instagram because of its aesthetic appeal and easy flow. I have the ability to follow friends, family, celebrities, and businesses as if I knew all of them on a personal level, while also sharing my own experiences with my followers. As mentioned in a previous blog post of mine, I also like to look up restaurants and events through the app because of the ease of information. After all, I would rather see a dish in an eye-catching photo than read a written description of one. The only downside of this app is that it is one of the many social sites notoriously known for being addictive and causing self-esteem issues, and I do find myself on it too much. Although it comes with some negative side effects, it is still a powerful way to connect with people, places, and things one otherwise might not be able to.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Apple for creating the iPhone—the addictive, powerful, all encompassing piece of technology one could find on my person at all times. Equipped with a quality camera, plenty of storage, and all sorts of other features and apps that are as habit-forming as they are helpful, I can have the power of connection and information at my touch. I use almost every feature to stay in contact with my family and friends, send and receive photos of my dog, look up random facts, and most importantly, use all of these other technologies mentioned above. When I think of the shift between my Motorola Razr stage and my present day iPhone 6S stage, I cannot believe the advancements that have gone into making mobile smartphones as powerful as they are. I never knew that one device could be a passageway to all of these other technologies, and I cannot wait to see what progress Apple will make in the near future.