Phone apps inspire new connections

Going to breakfast with friends is no longer just about chatting over pancakes. I also need to check into the restaurant on Foursquare or Yelp and snap pictures of my food on Instagram. All the while, I frantically plot a new Facebook status in my head.

An overarching sad realization hits: Since when did we become so obsessed with using technology to document our lives?

Social media is easy to abuse. Though we should not ignore its potential drawbacks, social media is ultimately a good thing. It merges the digital world and real world in novel ways that bring us together.

Smartphone apps — such as Foursquare, Yelp, Find My Friends, Instagram and Facebook — are all about publicizing exactly where you are and what you’re doing. There’s no avoiding the fact that in today’s world we are more connected than ever and constantly create online versions of ourselves.

We are also more narcissistic than ever. Instagram, which encompasses photography and self-projection, nabbed Time magazine’s award for “iPhone App of the Year” in 2011.

The creators of Facebook were wise to give us the option of removing people from our newsfeeds. Friends or otherwise, some people simply post too frequently. If you’re guilty of constantly updating your status, try disconnecting every once in a while. Don’t focus on your online persona at the expense of real life.

Location-based services such as Foursquare, however, provide unique advantages. On several occasions, location and documentation applications on my iPhone have allowed me to keep in touch with people that I wouldn’t see otherwise.

As the overlap between the online and real world continues to grow, it’s essential to recognize the dangers of over-sharing and being obsessively connected. But it’s also essential to recognize and take part in the best parts of technology — the ones that truly bring people together, inspiring creativity and interaction in a way that has never been done before.


Elena Kadavny is a senior majoring in Spanish.