HOW IS TECHNOLOGY MAKING MODERN SOCIETY MORE CONSUMER BASED?

Eggers, Dave. The Circle: A Novel. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

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Technology is something that is constantly improving in modern society. Technology has improved lives and made living easier with every passing year, but it seems like each year these technological devices used everyday make major improvements each year. New cell phones, tablets, computers, laptops, and other devices that make lives more convenient seem to have an infinitely improving agenda. The buyers and users of these products have now fallen victim to there own technology. Technology has made modern society more consumer based by the constant release of new products each year, and the constant advertisements that appear while using this new technology

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When major developments in technology started taking place, each new development would span the course of years of decades before anything new was released. For example, Windows operating systems used to only change on average every five years when the new systems hit the market, but now the windows operating system updates about every two years, and within those two years the operating system of the time comes with many updates necessary to use for new computers. Not only have these updates become more frequent, but they also come with a price tag of about $100 (A history of Windows).

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Along with the constant update of the software and operating systems, the hardware itself has started to upgrade more frequently. Companies that release cell phones have now started to release a new model every year, and although the new models are improvements from the previous models, the changes are only slight.

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For example, when the Apple decided to release the iPhone 5c and 5s. Both phones were only slight improvements from the last with only a small change in processing power, but these phones were still able to sell. This is much like the products in Eggers novel The Circle, “the businesses counting on the Circle to get the word out about their products, to track their digital impact, to know who was buying their wares and when — it became real on a very different level” (Eggers 55). Other major cell phone makers like Samsung, LG, and Windows have also started releasing a new model of cell phone every year; all of which only make slight adjustments.

A new phone coming out every year can sound intriguing, and if it’s promised to be better every time then consumers become instantly more interested. Cell phone providers like Verizon, At&t, and Sprint have even started to accommodate the advancements of cellular devices, and have specific phone and data plans (more expensive plans) that allow customers to update their phones every year, “those with the experience and business acumen to make it happen” (Eggers 23).

Along with the cell phones, tablets have also made a huge impact on consumerism. A tablet, a device with more functionality than a cell phone, but less than a laptop, has started to become a major must have product. Much like cell phones; a new model of tablets comes out every year. Again with only slight changes, but whatever is the latest and greatest technological device is the most sought after. Apple releases a new iPad every year, and the commercials made for these products are both very convincing, and make the user want to update. The iPad Air commercial (US) makes viewers think that the narrator is talking about the pencil, and the way they describe the versatility of it makes the commercial seem more intriguing; then finally it’s revealed that this object that the viewers now see as one of the most versatile devices is actually and iPad (iPad Air Commercial US). Each year Apple releases these type of commercials that show iPads or iPhones being used in such a way that can be applied to everyone. This alone makes upgrading current devices seem more intriguing. The commercial makes the products seem like they are needed by everyone, “though the variation in customers and their businesses was dizzying” (Eggers 55).

All these devices together including the cellular phones and iPads have created an industry that makes billions of dollars in revenue each year. The constant release of technology drives this industry through the roof. Each fiscal quarter, Apple alone makes over 63 billion dollars in revenue (apple.com). It’s no question that the development of such products creates a huge industry, but it also helps promote products in other industries. The applications and websites visited when using technological devices like laptops, cell phones, and tablets all have a form of advertising.

Most applications on mobile devices are now free, but these applications come with hidden advertisements. Developers don’t need to charge for downloading an application anymore because when an application becomes popular enough, companies will pay the developer to advertise a product within an application. Not only do these advertisements promote other applications and technological devices, but they may also be promoting movies, cleaning products, clothes, pretty much anything that is being sold. Most of the time these commercials are personalized towards what the user is searching much like in The Circle, “the actual buying habits of actual people were now eminently mappable and measurable” (Eggers22). YouTube is a great example of this advertising. Over every video if there isn’t a thirty second commercial before the video the viewer desires to watch, then there will at least be an add for something in the lower portion of the video window.

Technology is able to drive several markets with the help of advertising now. It’s clear that through technology, modern society is leaning towards a more consumer-based culture. The products one has in current society say a lot about a person, and often times having more products means being more wealthy, and in most cultures being wealthier means having a happier life. Technology is able to create a society more focused on “things” and less focused on people and emotions. It’s important that the world never grows to be solely independent on new technological advancements.

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