It’s always fun to watch the world-changing history of technology unfold. If you were one of the lucky ones who came of age and entered college in the late ’90s and early 2000s, just as the Digital Age was beginning to bloom, you have been witness to a wild ride:
The ’90s, that awkward but supremely important birthing of the Internet, which featured clunky, angrily loud modems and websites that looked like poorly designed 8-bit Nintendo games
The early 2000s, which witnessed the birth and early development of Google, Facebook, and Apple’s early line of iProducts (iPod and the first iMac) — the three companies that would soon conquer the world about as quickly and effectively as SkyNet did in Terminator 2 (minus the nuclear destruction, of course).
And now the 2010s, which have (so far) ushered in monumental plot twists like Big Data, the Mobile Device Dominance, Predictive First technology, and the Internet of Things, just to name a few of the amazing wonders happening today. (What will the 2020s bring? Flying cars? Hover boards? Reebok shoes that tie themselves? Oh wait, that’s “Back to the Future II.” Right.)
And every year seems to bring new mobile app solutions that inspire and delight us — like these three new mobile apps:
iRecoveryApp: How One Mobile App Is Helping Recovering Addicts Fight the Good Fight
Stepping into a social situation in which everyone around him is drinking alcohol is not exactly a walk in the park for Jack Kelly. Although the people around him in those situations don’t know it, they are conjuring painful memories from a nightmare that nearly destroyed him.
At the tender age of 16, Jack sustained an injury playing hockey. Of course, it’s not uncommon for high school students to get injured playing sports. But most of them recover and go on with their lives. Jack’s story, however, took a dark turn. Doctors prescribed him a powerful pain-killer, OxyContin, and he became addicted. After his prescription ended, he needed to get more. He tried to find some on the street. Instead he found heroine, which was much cheaper.
It nearly ended his life.
Years later, after battling addiction and homelessness, Jack was 22, and he checked himself into the Boston Rescue Mission, which helped him overcome the addictions and rebuild his life.
But as he waded back into normal life, which meant the challenging social situations in which people were drinking, he wished he could find others who had stories similar to his and connect with them for support right there in real-time, in the midst of the social drinking setting. That’s when the idea struck him: make an app.
Thus iRecoverApp was born. The Boston Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo called the app “the recovery community’s equivalent of Facebook,” and she reported the following news about the app’s progress:
Today, about 2,500 people, mostly from New England, use the test version of the free mobile app to find and instant-message other recovering addicts in their area.
“You always need a contingency plan to fall back on, so having the app in your back pocket can be huge,” said Sean Regan, 32, of Swampscott, who’s been clean and sober for almost six years.
“When I have moments of weakness, I’m able to nip it in the bud sooner by talking to someone who’s going through the same struggle. Without the support of people, I wouldn’t have made it as far as I have today.”
Kelly plans a formal launch this fall, when New Englanders will be able to connect with detox centers, therapists and recovery coaches, who’ll pay a fee to be listed on the app.
This moving story is just another example of how powerful mobile app solutions can be. They’re not just fun and games or helpful business tools. They’re also helping people stay strong in some of the most difficult battles of their lives.
Shark Week: Mobile Meets Jaws
But, yes, apps are also fun and games too — as they should be — and it’s interesting to sit back and watch the show of companies finding fun (and often hilarious) new ways to integrate their products with mobile use.
Just take a look at how Discovery Channel is using mobile technology to transform its marketing for Shark Week — yes, that beloved annual tradition in which we watch giant sharks eat anything that moves.
All you need is Instagram and Twitter and a penchant for imitating our jagged toothed friends under the sea. As one author explains:
…Discovery Channel, in conjunction with Dunkin’ Donuts, is using Instagram and Twitter to get people talking about its event week. Viewers are being asked to post photos of themselves acting like sharks—but with doughnuts. The best photos will end up on Dunkin’ Donut’s New York Times Square billboard or on Discovery’s Shark “After Dark” show.
So, not only do we get to enjoy a full week of sharks gnashing at the camera, we can now get our mug in Times Square if we’re lucky. Either way, mobile apps are transforming television events into interactive, social experiences.
How Mobile Apps Are Changing the Way We Go On Dates
A recent article from Credit Union Times made an interesting observation: “People are apparently so comfortable with mobile banking apps that they’re now using them at work, during client meetings and even on dates, according to a new survey by Chase and Princeton, N.J.-based Braun Research” [emphasis added].
The study team surveyed 1,502 adults in May 2015. 17% of those respondents said they used their mobile banking app while on a date. Either 1) The date was really boring, and they decided to work on their finances a little in between courses; 2) If the person using the app had offered to pay for the meal, perhaps their date ordered something so shockingly expensive that the person had to check their balance to make sure they could cover it; or 3) They used the app to pay for the meal.
Unfortunately, the study doesn’t say how they used the banking app during the date. Maybe they’ll get to the bottom of that in the next study.