Why Technology Isn’t Bad
After just three days in New York, not only had I conquered the confusing streets of Lower Manhattan, I had also conquered the myriad of award-winning and “must-eat” restaurants of Manhattan. Without the help of the computer in my hand and the wonderful apps on that computer such as Über and Yelp, among many others, my trip to New York wouldn’t have been the same. I’m not saying that without this (technology lovingly referred to as smart phones) would I have had a bad trip to New York, I’m just saying my smart phone really helped me get right to what I wanted to see and do in New York and help me to get that done. I think a lot of times technology bears the brunt of frustration associated with lack of education and knowledge about how to use mobile applications and technology. But the things it has done for us, as a society, is amazing.
After arriving at my Midtown Manhattan hotel during a recent trip to New York City, it took only minutes for me to discover where the hottest place around the hotel for lunch was — and I did it all from that computer in my hand. While writing this even feels kind of silly to me, I think “well of course I could do this from my phone, I could use Yelp, Google, Urbanspoon, etc. and figure this out anywhere I go, anytime I want”. And I think a majority of travelers in 2015 would feel the same way because using technology and smart phones to enhance the travel experience is so normal now. And to think just 15 years ago none of this would have been possible with the earliest widely used smart phone being the Blackberry in the United States — and that wasn’t widely distributed until the mid-2000's. Then the rise of the iPhone didn’t begin until the late 2000's — yet today it’s mind-blowing to think that just a decade ago the only person who knew the term iPhone was Steve Jobs. With the rise of mobile-based services, more commonly referred to as apps, travelers and everyday residents of cities can literally find information at their fingertips for just about anything. Certain services, such as Über and Lyft, even require a smart phone user base to operate while other media forms, such as Yelp and Flickr, have adapted mobile platforms to create very user friendly mobile interfaces because of the millions of mobile users now in the US.
I often hear from people who are not the most accepting or embracing of new technology. They say things like “I wish society wouldn’t be so dependent on technology” or “I wish everything was simpler like in the old days”. Not only do I find these claims frustrating, I simply can’t imagine living in a time when these things didn’t exist (obviously I can because I was alive when the Internet wasn’t around, it’s just a crazy thought for me). While technology can become overwhelming if you don’t understand it, just like anything that may be overwhelming, patience accompanied by an open mind and attitude can help someone learn anything. Not only will learning about technology and social media services possibly enhance someone’s quality of life, it can also help someone understand all the jokes and references about social media too! Like when a friend says “retweet!” after you say something witty, you can understand what that even means. For example, those who don’t use Twitter because they just “don’t get it” have a very simple way to “get it” — they just need to take some time to learn about its purpose, how it’s used and how to use it. Not only have I gotten some really great and unique professional opportunities from Twitter, I have also found a great way to communicate with new and old friends alike while having a way to communicate with the world and share ideas and thoughts with an audience that would probably never all be listening to me at one time and place otherwise. New things can be challenging for some and change may not always be embraced, but with the way the technology industry is driving our society, I think the best thing to do is embrace the mobile-oriented world ours is becoming so we can make the most of it.
This way of thinking about technology definitely has to do with my age since I don’t ever remember a time when the Internet didn’t exist, but now I just can’t imagine life without this technology.