5 Uses of Technology I’m Thankful For

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.

Venmo

venmoJust 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.

Uber

uberGoing 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.

Netflix

giphyNothing 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.

Instagram

Can-Instagram-Boost-Business-SalesAs 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.

Apple iPhone

DSC_4494_678x452Last, 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.

9 comments

  1. Great post! I would agree that Venmo and Uber have been the most useful, both at school and abroad. Pre-venmo, not only was splitting checks difficult; you actually had to find an ATM to get cash and physically repay the person you owed money to! Venmo also provides for a much easier ledger of who owes you what with the request feature. It used to be that you needed to remember or write down who owed what. Now, you just send a Venmo request to people when you make a purchase for them. Uber has no doubt changed the way we get around, and one of the best features which you mention is the split with friends. It also saves the hassle of calling a cab company to come pick you up, which can be difficult if you’re in a loud place.

    I would have to say that I’m not as thankful for Netflix and Instagram. To me, these are time wasters. Although I use Instagram daily, I rarely use Netflix (maybe once or twice throughout the entirety of this semester). I find it hard to commit a large chunk of time to watching something.

  2. Cool post! Much like you, being in Social Media and Digital Business has made me aware of how much I use all these different technologies throughout my daily life, and has really shown me the hidden value in each of them. As sad as it is to admit, I would be at a loss without Venmo and Uber and of course the home to all apps, the Iphone. These technologies make our lives easier and more efficient, and I think its fair to say that most people have become dependent on them. Seeing your list made me think about which technologies would be on my own. I generally agree, but if I had to add one it would definitely be Google Maps! I don’t know how I got anywhere without it.

  3. This is an awesome final blog post, Shannon! My top 5 pretty would pretty much look exactly like yours, which speaks volumes as to what matters most in millennial technology users. Netflix is a must have (although I would throw HBO Go in there to, I love my Game of Thrones!). Instagram is my favorite social media app as well, due to its ease of use and ability to give you (very limited!!!) insight into the lives of others, particularly celebrities. Venmo has changed my life, without it, I wouldn’t have been able to pay my rent last year–kinda sad I’ve never written a real check!! All that being said, your post was well structured and relatable. Good job!

    1. Don’t you worry Colby…this wasn’t my last! (I was a little behind)

  4. Great reflection Shannon! I liked that you took some time to step back and appreciate some of the best tech companies and products that are accessible to us. We were so busy discussing and analyzing the implications, negative side effects, and impact of these technologies that we often took them for granted. I enjoyed reading about your personal anecdotes from before and after you began to use these 5 technologies, and why you were thankful for them. Thanks for sharing.

  5. When you put it as simply as that, these 5 alone have really had a major impact on business and life as we know it.

  6. I would like to say Amazon is another one, to help me shopping! Lol. From your post, we can see information technology have changed people on finance, transportation, entertainment, social activities etc… Later, it might change more on work, study, eat…That is amazing IT has done to our lives. And I am looking forward to see more!

  7. I feel like most college students would definitely agree with you on those 5! For convenience sake it would be hard not to include Venmo and Uber (although I myself am a Lyft fan). As I’m preparing to enter the “real world” I definitely have seen the value in Venmo– it holds me and my friends responsible for actually paying each other back which is so important as I start to budget for myself (which is really scary and all my dad wanted to talk about while I was home for Thanksgiving…). It’s interesting to think that people a few years older missed out on many of these conveniences while they were in college and in a couple years there will be new technologies that will change students lives even more. I’m sure you’ll also getting a kick out of looking back at this in a few years and seeing if you’re still thankful for these same 5!

  8. Awesome post Shannon! I totally agree those 5 apps have had an embarrassingly big impact on my life, so much that I can barely picture my life without them. Too other digital platforms I would have to add to your list are Amazon and Google. Amazon is the greatest company in the world that takes care of all my needs; yes they might take over the world, disrupt the economy and industries as we know it, and know me better than my mother but as long as I have access to Amazon Prime I do not really care. Also Google, because I would know nothing without Google.

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