What’s up with all the apps?



‘Silly, Stupid, Sophomoric, and Even Dumb’

Today I sent a NY Times article to the Child (I do this kind of thing with annoying frequency.) Her reply? ‘Write a blog post about it.’ (She’s been urging me to get off my FB-trolling butt and do this Blog Thing for ages.) So, if you made it this far, you are reading the blog post. And if you’d like to go further, here is the article, subtitled ‘Surprising, Scandalous, Serious, Even Inspiring’:

‘Apps for Sharing Secrets and Gossip’

But wait! Before you leave my first ‘real’ post, let me summarize. And editorialize. The article is about some cool new apps that do all kinds of tasks that you didn’t know needed to be done. One of them, Secret, according to the Times, ‘encourages airing information or feelings that might not otherwise be shared’.

Another, Whisper, lets you let the world know that you are feeling ‘lonely’ today. Or that you ‘stole the last piece of pie’.

Last, and perhaps least, is Random, which chooses ‘random’ articles for you to read based on a keyword you click. Even the Times thinks this one can ‘get a little tiresome’. Want more? Randid sends you random photo images. And my favorite? It’s got to be Godus. This app lets you ‘play God, managing the population of a strange world, sculpting the landscape around your worshippers…etc., etc.’ It’s ‘free and fascinating’.

What I find fascinating is all the smarts being used up on apps. In the Olden Days, all the best and brightest went into medicine (or law or politics, but don’t get me started). Now it seems that the Cream of the Ivy Crop is being skimmed for app design.

Which leads me to lutheranliar’s question for the day: does the world really need another app? True, there are some really useful ones (banking, travel, and yes, the New York Times) poised for action on my own home screen. And, yes, I have been known to channel my inner Alec Baldwin through Words with Friends.

But, to summarize as well as editorialize, let me say that I’d happily change my mind about the App Brain Drain if Ms./Mr. Recent MIT Grad came up with apps like Cure My Cancer or FluBeGone. Instead, what do we get? Yo*.

So, what do you think?

*‘Yo, One-Word Messaging App, Is Valued at Up to $10 Million’

(Post above written August 14, 2014. Added bit below written today: March 9, 2015) —

As if all this weren’t brain-draining enough, this just in, also from the New York Times. A story about a new app called Yik Yak that allows people (students mostly) to share nasty remarks (racist, sexist, etc. etc.) with each other — anonymously. So said nasty stuff can’t be traced back to the remarker. Great! Nastiness without accountability!

Will wonders never cease? Not until parents stop paying tuition for kids ‘studying’ stuff like this. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself (!)

If you’re like-minded and would like to read more about my views on the Techie World, take a gander at ‘Daddy said “Don’t touch”‘. Thank you for letting me blow off some steam. Hmmm. Perhaps there’s a steam-blowing app in the works?

Amagansett, New York. August 2014

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7 thoughts on “What’s up with all the apps?

  1. Thanks for posting and provoking me, Alice. When I first read this I thought “who has time to do all this random play stuff in a world filled with stuff you actually HAVE to do?” The second thought was the obsession with technology and devices. Yesterday my husband and I missed a flight and found ourselves with about six extra hours to kill between Pisa and London — it only takes an hour and 45 minutes to fly between these two cities but that’s another story. So back to the technology post, stay with me cause here’s MY confession: I’m never really sure what people with bowed heads are actually doing…is it a game app, are they networking with friends, are they responding to a work e-mail, flipping through tinder, or WHAT?! All I know for sure is it depresses me greatly to see people looking down so much at screens of all shapes and sizes rather than speaking and making eye contact. So yesterday, while looking at the leaning tower against that blue blue sky and slurping yet another gelato, we saw a 3-generation family of six at a cafe, glued to their devices, all (I suspect) apping (which spell checks to aping). This was a family on vacation, surrounded by public art albeit slightly cheesy, in…Italy. Keep blogging, babes. I like to get my Rile Up with focus and purpose. x

  2. First, let me thank you for posting a comment on my nascent blog. Second, let me second your comment. The fact that clicking equals success, even if you’re clicking because you’re PO’d, reminds me of the old adage that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’.

  3. There are a couple of interesting things going on here.

    First is that an app doesn’t have to have a use or even be directly monetizable just so long as it can accumulate users. The move seems to be:

    1. Get users
    2. Get bought out by the big boys (Facebook etc.)
    3. Let them worry about making money from the app.

    Related to the above is that all of these apps are really just collecting data. Every time we click, we’re telling the app owner something. It’s amazing what they can figure out from what seems to be meaningless clicks.

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