RM News

iPhone Hits the 10-Year Mark: Where Are We Now… and Where Are We Headed?

In 1966, the television series Star Trek introduced the world to a futuristic little gizmo called a “tricorder.” This handheld gadget was essentially a mini-computer that served a number of functions, which included the ability to analyze and record data, communicate with others, and provide critical aid and information instantly in all kinds of situations.

Sound familiar? As many have observed over the years, the tricorder of Star Trek was an early – and eerily prescient – indication of where technology was ultimately headed. 40 years after its debut, the closest approximation to an actual tricorder we had yet seen was born: the iPhone. Apple’s revolutionary product was introduced 10 years ago, coinciding with the rapid ascendance of Facebook, the social media platform that has changed how we communicate in ways too numerous to count.

A lot has changed in those 10 years. In January, Rosemont Media will also be turning 10, and since the evolution of our dental and medical marketing firm has occurred somewhat parallel to the rise of the iPhone and Facebook, we thought we’d conduct an informal survey among members of our team to find out what they think about how much the world has changed due to these sweeping and profound technological advances. The survey posed three basic questions regarding technology’s effects over the last 10 years, particularly in terms of the iPhone and Facebook/social media. While the context and tone of the answers varied in many ways, one of the most striking aspects of the responses was how similar they were as a collective whole. In sum, it seems as though the consensus is that the practical and cultural changes that have occurred over the years have brought enormous benefits and exciting glimpses of what technology is – and will be – capable of. But, there is a cost.

The questions were:

  • What do you feel have been the benefits of technological advances such as the iPhone and social media over the last 10 years?
  • What do you feel have been the drawbacks?
  • What do you think the future holds?

And here are the responses, some of which have been lightly edited for clarity and length:

“We can share our current experience with people all over the world in an instant.”

Brandon Borenstein, Medical Sales Manager: “Pros: The ability to reach massive audiences that can also be very targeted depending on who you want to see your message; the spreading of positive ideas and showing others around the world that we are more alike than different; using this advanced tech to further the tech in other industries through the ability to connect, share and collaborate; being able to stay in touch with loved ones.

“Cons: The ability to spread ‘fake news’; over-analysis, leading to inaction on many pressing issues; the intrusive nature of modern tech can lead to corruption and loss of basic privacy.

“The future: Augmented reality; AI and more personal engagement with tech; more collective information sharing (crowd-sourced ideas). As with anything, there will be massive breakthroughs that are initially terrifying because it will shake up the status quo; however, human progress has proven to be constantly evolving, and we will fast adapt to frequent changes (as we have now been readily accepting every time the new iPhone is released!)”

“With great technology shifts come great responsibility.”

Cortney Putters, Sales Support Specialist: “Technology has been a great way to keep up with friends and family since I moved away from home six years ago. The drawback is, having social media on our phones makes everyone more addicted to checking it. Instead of having in-person conversations, you see people out in public playing on their phones instead of talking to each other. A lot of times it’s used as a crutch to not be in an awkward situation. I also can’t imagine growing up with social media so readily available. Kids and young adults feel they need likes and comments in order to feel validated, and cyber-bullying has skyrocketed.”

“I’m strongly considering reverting back to a flip phone…”

Luz Ellis, Dental Account Consultant: “I have access to a great deal of information, which can be really helpful if I am navigating a new place or a challenging situation. However, access to so much information can be incredibly overwhelming, and deciphering what is or isn’t legitimate can be difficult. It also has become a huge distraction, and I need to make an effort to put the phone down to have more quality human interaction. I’m strongly considering reverting back to a flip phone…

“As far as the future, who knows?! Facial recognition and holograms?”

“We can show others around the world that we are more alike than different.”

Cassie Fowler, Content Marketing Project Manager:
“I think Facebook has helped people stay connected in a way that wasn’t possible before; it enables friends and family to regularly be aware of what’s going on in each other’s lives without much effort. With social media platforms like Facebook, we are able to remain somewhat present in our friends and family members’ joys and sorrows over the years, no matter how long it has been since we’ve seen them in person or how far away they are, physically.

“Although iPhones and Facebook have helped us stay connected, people tend to be less interested in and/or skilled with verbal communication and social interaction. I also feel that the ‘shorthand’ style of writing used in text messages and social media has contributed to our society’s inability to write properly. Additionally, I think some people hide behind their social media accounts to attack individuals who do not agree with their views (political or otherwise), which has caused many to be incapable of having calm, civil discussions when they disagree with one another. Lastly, I think social media can also sometimes create issues because of online personas. The way a person depicts themselves online likely isn’t the ‘whole story.’ However, an outsider may become depressed when they see their friends seemingly experiencing nothing but success and happiness while they are struggling. Conversely, if an individual becomes too wrapped up in portraying themselves a certain way, they might lose their grasp on reality.

“I sincerely hope we find a good balance where we can use our mobile devices and social media platforms as tools rather than crutches.”

“At a certain point, it’s as if we’re experiencing life for everyone else.”

Katie Nagel, Senior Writer: “Anyone with a smartphone can do on-the-spot research, helping us make more informed decisions about the services and products we purchase. This has also made reviews more important than ever. Where Facebook is concerned, and this is so simple but: It’s harder to forget people’s birthdays when Facebook always gives you the heads up!

“Although we’re more connected than ever, we can be surprisingly detached from real-life relationships. I think this is because much of our communication is less personal and more surface level—not to mention the amount of time we spend on our phones and social media also draws us away from in-person interaction.

“We spend a lot of time experiencing life through our camera lens first, because we’re often focused on capturing moments to share online with others. While this is great for documenting life events, it can also distract from the wonder of a situation. At a certain point, it’s as if we’re experiencing life for everyone else.”

“I sincerely hope we find a good balance where we can use our mobile devices and social media platforms as tools rather than crutches.”

Misha Osinovskiy, Website Front-End Developer: “We are able to communicate faster and easier than ever before. We can share our current experience with people all over the world in an instant. Yet, we are becoming phone zombies. We are interacting less with people that are standing or sitting right next to us. We still don’t understand how these technologies affect our brains and our children’s development. We are in a very large live experiment and will find out soon the true effects.

“The smartphone was a paradigm shift in the way we communicate and connect with technology. Another shift is going to happen soon. In a few decades we won’t be holding small devices in our hands; we’ll look back and think… ‘wow, what a clunky way that was to do things.’ The same way we feel about rotary phones today.

“With great technology shifts come great responsibility.”

“We are becoming phone zombies.”

Kelsey Meksto, Content & Social Media Marketing Coordinator: “People can stay in contact with distant relatives, there are better marketing avenues, and people can always be informed on world news. Apps like Facetime help with long-distance relationships. Public alert capabilities (such as Amber Alerts) and transportation/ride-sharing apps are also major benefits.

“On the flip side, people are more distant and consumed by social media. Interpersonal communication is at a decline (people don’t talk on the phone anymore, only one-way communication); no information is secure (hackers); there are more avenues for bullying (cyberbullying); more deaths (talking on the phone/texting while driving or walking across streets); dependency (always being in contact with people).

“More and more technology will become available to where everything is by voice or hands-free. I believe it will end up hurting people more than helping by the way people abuse technology.”

“Go outside for a walk every now and then, and leave the smartphone at home for a change.”

Keith C. Humes, CEO: “The launch of the iPhone and Facebook happened so closely that it ultimately created the perfect storm of success for both companies. A phone that could take pictures and upload immediately to the web is still an amazing concept that we all take for granted at this point. However, it will be remembered as a huge milestone in history and has forever changed how we communicate with individuals and, more importantly, large groups of friends and family members. In one click, you can inform your friend-base of what you had for lunch, or a major life event like getting married or having children. Death is a very interesting thing that has happened on Facebook; nowadays, deceased friends or family members have had their pages turned into online memorials that can live on forever. Furthermore, the speed in which we find out about the passing of loved ones or celebrities is unbelievable.

“With these great leaps and bounds of technology, we do give up our privacy. My biggest concern with our lives being so transparent is that we have to be careful what we are putting online about ourselves. I have always compared the Facebook platform to a large cocktail party, so we want to be careful regarding the sensitivity of our posts. The other problem of course is the rampant flow of fake or unverified news. The news now comes at us in seconds in all different all ways, and a journalist or ‘wannabe’ journalist can post an unverified story. I believe this is happening more and more because everyone is now more concerned with being the first to break the story before doing the necessary due diligence. Another problem with all of this unfiltered news and information coming at us is jumping to conclusions regarding someone’s behavior and being judge, jury, and executioner before all the facts are revealed. In the future, if we click on a certain controversial story, or if we post something, will the authorities come knocking at our door? In most cases, especially now, technology moves at such a lightning speed that our laws become outdated and it takes time to establish new legislation to deal with certain issues that arise out of the misuse of technology. So be careful about what you are posting about yourself, and go outside for a walk every now and then and leave the smartphone at home for a change.

“What will our future hold? Will my 5 year-old daughter ever learn to drive a car or will cars be on command by smartphones or wearable devices and do all the driving? Will we live in a mixed virtual reality world and never go to a brick-and-mortar office, school, or store? Will we become a one-world order and get rid of war and live in a world of peace and harmony? Ok, now I am getting a little carried away.”

***

“We are in a very large live experiment and will find out soon the true effects.”

So, what have we learned after the stratospheric rise of the iPhone, Facebook, and other technologies over the last 10 years? It’s difficult to whittle it all down to a concrete answer for that question. But, like most technological changes, it’s clear that many people find both significant advantages and a lot of room for caution.

As far as the future is concerned, it seems most of us can agree that there is likely going to come a time, perhaps very soon, where we will all be saying: “Meet me at the holodeck.”

Tom Hall

About

Tom is the Senior Writer and Chief Editor at Rosemont Media. A former TV news associate producer, Tom graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a degree in Theatre, and then promptly moved to San Diego in 2003. Tom is a member of a local Shakespeare theatre company and is very active in the San Diego arts community.