Are The Apps Helping Us?

Photo by Unknown,  CC0 Public Domain

It’s probably safe to say that consistently being accessible and always on is the norm in the developed world, with many struggling if they run out of data or there are no fast Wi-Fi networks available. In the not-so-distant past, we used to go to the library to find information, but then we turned to computers for accessing websites to gather information; in many cases, speeding up considerably the searching and accuracy of what we could get. However, with the widespread use of smartphones, websites are too hard to navigate. The solution was the introduction of apps. Today, we almost expect there to be an app for everything, including lifestyle-related apps.

Lifestyle Apps to Improve Our Lives

For health, we have Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper and you could also include Pokémon GO in this category. Another less well-known health-related app is Life Pod, which helps patients and healthcare providers keep track of critical health information, ensuring the healthcare providers prioritize those who need it most.

Food is another common category for apps, both when it comes to ordering, with the likes of Deliveroo and Just Eat, accessing suitable recipes based on what we have at home at the click of a button.

Security-related apps are also becoming more and more widespread. Either as an integrated part of a smart home or to ensure the safety and well-being of our little ones and elderly. Some of them like the Kickstarter funded Ulo, help you keep an eye on your home when you are not there. The number of so-called community apps where we can share information within our local communities is also on the increase with the likes of Streetlife, StreetWise and Farm Watcher.

Social Media Apps for Online Connections

As well as the lifestyle apps mentioned above, we are also seeing an increasing number of apps to stay in touch with friends and loved ones or to make new connections. Increasingly, the traditional social media apps are also turning into opportunities for advertising and information gathering.

Pinterest, much like the ever-popular Instagram, is based on images but encourages users to collect them by adding them to various pinboards when gathering ideas. It’s like an electronic, searchable scrapbook. You can use Pinterest to organize all types of things; anything from finding ideas for craft sessions to the flags of the world to information about major sporting events like the World Cup, the Olympics or Wimbledon. You name it!

Regarding active users, Facebook is a firm number one. Traditionally, it was used for friends and loved ones, but more and more businesses are now using Facebook to drum up work and keep in touch with their market. LinkedIn is probably the most notable alternative for business-related connections, although there are more posts about private life now than say, five years ago, which shows that the separation may be blurring.

Twitter in its 140-character simplicity is another app that is common for personal as well as business use. In London, the United Kingdom, it is by far the best way to figure out if the commuter boats are running along the Thames according to timetable or not.

Making life easier or locking us in?

There are a plethora of apps for making and staying in touch with friends, loved ones and work colleagues, with many lifestyle apps becoming household names. Next, we’re likely to see an increase in apps that help us in more fundamental ways. The apps for travel (e.g. Uber and Citymapper) have already gained widespread popularity. In the future, the apps are likely to be more functional like the Life Pod app, but the question we need to ask ourselves is if all these apps are improving our lives or if we are letting them take over.


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