There’s an App for That!

By Christopher Smith

Technology. You either love it or hate it…or, I guess you could fall somewhere in between in some sort of “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” mantra but, the odds are, you ditched your old flip phone years ago (Lisa, I’m looking at you).

No matter where you fall it is safe to say that its a part of your life. I know it is part of mine. It surrounds me. From the moment I wake up to my digital alarm clock, electric toothbrush, pre-programmed coffee maker…a quick check of my email, calendar and the weather on my iPhone before zipping out the door, it makes my life easier. Truly. Although, I have to admit, I really don’t even think about it (unless I’m asked to write a blog about it).

I remember a time not too long ago (ok, so like 20 years ago) where I’d run into a friend while walking across campus and say “man, I haven’t seen you in weeks, what have you been up to?” Or, waiting in line at the bar on a Friday night for an hour before getting in and realizing that the people I thought I was meeting up with were nowhere to be found…but, you rolled with it. You saw someone you knew or better yet, you made new friends. There was no Friday night cellular/Facebook/Twitter triangulation of plans or changes on the fly.

If someone from the future would have seen me in line outside (insert bar name) in the cold, with no jacket (because c’mon, who wears a jacket to the bar) and said “Your friends are not in there, but I have a magical phone that will allow you to call them right now and find out where they are at” I would have jumped at the chance. The irony of that is “future me” (the one writing this blog) laughs at those folks now and is reminiscent of the way it used to be.

Alas, times change. The world keeps on spinning and technology advances. Boy does it advance! Like, while I wrote that sentence Samsung just release six new versions of the Galaxy…each one bigger than the last!

So, if you’re still reading this (and not running out to Best Buy to grab one of those new Galaxy phones I just mentioned), you may be an iPhone person. Speaking of Apple, they held their fourteenth annual WWDC conference just a few short days ago (that’s Worldwide Developer Conference if you’re not in the know). The lead-in to the keynote was a fantastic, as only Apple can do, video of a smorgasbord of people attempting to define what a developer might look like and segued into them speaking about the apps they are most passionate about. Of course, the usual Pinterest, Words with Friends, Facebook and so on were spattered throughout, but it was the vignettes that really caught my attention. People are doing amazing things with these apps!

It’s easy to get caught up in the notion that Angry Birds and Candy Crush and Twitter rule the roost when it comes to apps, but if that’s your mindset you are really selling this technology short. There are countless apps in the cloud and the odds of finding one (if not dozens) that enrich your life are pretty good.

What’s the big deal you ask.  I guess that’s up to you. Being more organized, putting yourself on the road to financial freedom, humor, medical advice, connecting with friends, relaxation, inspiration…whatever you could dream up. There’s an app for that (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the WWDC opening 3:00 minutes http://www.apple.com/apple-events/june-2014 and tell me you’re not impressed.

Exploring the oceans of the world, designing our city skylines, coaching our youth…these are all amazing things (that you probably weren’t associating with apps)…and seemingly far removed from apps like Minecraft (don’t know what Minecraft is…just grab any kid anywhere near you right now and ask). But really, they all live together in this wonderful, digital, technologically advancing world we all live in too making it, at the same time, smaller and more accessible and vastly larger and seemingly endless.

So Spartan Nation, in the comments section (link above) share with us your favorite app and why. Maybe we’ll inspire each other to discover some new things.

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Christopher joined the Professional and Personal Enrichment team within Michigan State University’s Alumni Association in May of 2013. As the Assistant Director of Alumni Enrichment, his primary focus is to develop meaningful programs to deliver to Spartans in East Lansing and throughout the world.

Like this topic? Check out the webcast we will be hosting on 06/12/14 from 12:30 – 1:30pm EST: Creating Meaningful Apps in a Sea of Millions

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.

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