The whole purpose of technology and the innovations within its domain is to make life easier for us humans. Unfortunately, there are certain aspects of this innovation that are doing more harm than good. We all love our smartphones, smartwatches, smart TVs and smart whatever devices, we can hardly function without the aid of apps, but there are certain technological ‘conveniences’ that have crossed the threshold of diminishing returns. Let’s take a look at what those are:
1. Facebook’s Nearby Friends
Frankly, many people who setup the Facebook app for the first time on their phone end up enabling this feature without really knowing how it works or what it really does. The feature has successfully been used to stalk people. Significant others, bosses and even friends have used this feature to verify my story about where I was and while I did give away the right to my privacy when I enabled this feature, it still felt annoying. Things only got worse after I disabled it, being accused of being up to “shady things” because “why else would I hide my location?” I’d be okay with this feature if it shared my location with a select set of people, but that fact that it does with my entire Facebook friend list is a little concerning. This all or nothing approach makes the feature incredibly easy to abuse as has been my experience, and of many others I know.
2. WhatsApp Groups
What originally started a a great way to disseminate knowledge and converse with a group of people collectively has quickly turned into the most annoying feature of the most popular messaging app. Admit it, we’re all a part of various “groups” on WhatsApp that we can’t leave. Maybe it’s the “family time” group or one for your group of cyclists. Maybe its your work mates or just a bunch of friends trying to organize a party. However, the conversation quickly veers off course, and instructions that “this group is only for discussing work” gets lost in the flurry of memes and stupid forward jokes. It often makes me wonder whether the people in said groups have jobs, families, lives, because how else could you be this dedicated to keeping a group conversation alive? Everyone I’ve come across is annoyed with how incessantly these WhatsApp groups get messages and most of them have the notification silenced. Probably something we could do without because we clearly don’t know when to stop abusing a good thing.
3. Cases with Built-in batteries
While many will argue the utility of such things, stating that the case offers protection and extended battery life all in one without the hassle of dangling cables and bulky battery packs, I wonder why make a phone so think that you need to attach a battery pack to it just for it to get through the day? iPhone users know what I’m talking about.
Leaving the most controversial for the last. While selfies have become an integral part of an uncomfortably large part of our population it’s not the uptake a new way of interaction that’s a problem, it’s the impact of such activities that is alarming. There’s a growing number of people who can’t function without taking selfies every time they experience something new. Researchers have started noticing a growing correlation between the act of taking selfie between narcissism and a host of self-image issues. While the casual selfie every now and then never hurt anyone, there have been instances where people lost their lives just because they tried taking a selfie in places where they shouldn’ People have fallen off cliffs and even been electrocuted because of the negligence emanating from the act.
Just like with anything, “too much of a good thing can be really bad” and that is kind of what’s happening with some innovations we’ve got from the advent of our digital culture. As we get more connected, it is incredibly important to define where our boundaries are defined.