Stuck On You

7 05 2010

A couple of weeks ago I found myself waiting for a friend to pick me up outside Dallas Love Field. Nothing beats airport time when you have time to kill, because your mind can run freely, unencumbered by the usual office distractions at work.

And so my mind ran freely. Too bad for my friend that Dallas traffic wasn’t doing likewise, because I wound up waiting there a while. But that was not a problem that fine morning, because I really enjoyed just sitting in the fresh air.

Playing with my iPhone. And the Facebook app.

Which is when it hit me that FB has become the Velcro of our online and mobile existence. Of all the simple things I do on my phone or computer, there isn’t much I can’t do via FB.

Like email. Texting. Calling.

That handy little app, despite a few limitations, has become my master contact list. I realized that I am using my email accounts less and less these days, opting instead to just send a FB message…which is pushed to other app-driven phones just like an incoming text message. It pops the same way, it chimes the same way.

In fact, when my plane hit the runway (OK, maybe “hit” isn’t the right word…how about “landed gracefully?”), I wanted to give my buddy a heads-up as to my arrival. I didn’t have his number stored in my phone, though. But by being FB friends, all I needed to do was push a direct message, which accomplished the same thing.

To which he responded with a FB message.
But as 10 minutes grew into 30 minutes, I figured it might be better to actually talk to him. Hmmm…now how can I do this if I don’t have his number?

Ah, yes. Most people provide their phone number when they register for FB. I scrolled through my friends list on the app and looked for the little phone icon next to his name. Bazinga! I tapped it and within a few seconds was chatting away to my friend hopelessly mired in morning traffic.

Many of my students snickered this semester when I told them that FB was going to one day usurp email. But now I had proof that it’s well on its way to rendering obsolete our contact list. Sure, we’ll probably still use one, especially to file more detailed info about our family and friends, as well as to be able to contact those few people who have yet to discover Facebook. But for sheer ease of use, the FB app is the best.

After all, I’m stuck to it like Velcro. Why leave one app when you already have nearly everything you need in one handy place, right?

Facebook may be making news these days by selling our private information to marketers, and for deftly placing those three ads in the right-hand column. What they really need to be focusing on is pushing ad content through the phone app.

Because that’s where I am. That’s where you are. Hooked and looped. Eyes glazed over. Status. Updated.

Dr “What’s On Your Mind?” Gerlich



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