In the recent years, smartphones, laptops, smartwatches, and other devices have become an inseparable part of most people`s daily lives. According to Gerard Goggin, the development of IT sphere provides us with a great number of applications that “fit into new ways of being oneself; new ways of organizing and conducting one`s life; new ways of keeping in touch with friends, romantic intimates, and family; new ways of conducting business; new ways of accessing services of education” (2). They do not only have practical value, but form the new way of life, culture, and cognition – they shape new type of “cell phone society” (Goggin 1).
To begin with, one of the greatest advantages that the modern applications provide us with is the possibility to optimize most of the processes that we have to repeat every day – in other words, they make our lives easier. There is a variety of programs that can remind you of an important meeting, give the information about the situation with the traffic on the roads and help to optimize your way to work or college, and even make your crockpot cook with only one push of the right button when you are just on your way home. All this leads to a new perception of our everyday duties and the rules of day organization. There are also a number of cloud based health care and wellness applications that, according to F. Alagöz, “teach younger users a healthier and more mobile lifestyle and will inevitably change how a society sees itself and what it values, not by coercion but by attraction” (44). For instance, I have been using the application called iDrink for water consumption control the main task of which is to remind me to drink eight glasses of water per day. Though it may seem to be not so important, this program helps me to keep feet and to control my body.
Moreover, there is a number of applications which widen possibilities to get new information and self-education for people of all ages. The variety of electronic translators, on-line libraries, reading programs, mobile versions of popular magazines and newspapers enable one to find almost any information needed immediately, without spending hours on the search process as it was just some years ago. Nowadays, it is not essential to spend days in libraries or attend any courses to get new knowledge or profession – you can do all this just with the help of your laptop or smartphone. Moreover, the possibility to use several applications at once makes people multifunctional: you can switch between chatting with your friends, watching a film, listening to music, and reading news.
The modern society is not numb any more, it is mobile, ready to accept changes, and to change itself at any moment. For instance, there are some applications for elderly people which help them to train their cognitive abilities and find new possibilities for self-development (Plaza 1982). Personally I know a lot of people who use smartphone applications to learn of the latest news in the sphere of fashion and design for professional or personal purposes, take on-line courses to improve their knowledge, and watch video-lessons on YouTube to get new skills.
In addition, the abundance of various social media networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and SnapChat has changed the notion of communication dramatically. Such social media networks do not simply provide us with a possibility to communicate with people from almost any part of the world in any time of the day, find new acquaintances, and get in touch with the old ones. It can be considered to be a new way of socializing, with its own lexicon, grammar, rules of interaction, and even unique elements such as emoji, without which it is impossible to imagine modern electronic discourse. Moreover, they are a means of globalization which breaks not only the geographical, but also cultural boundaries. For example, I have a lot of friends who live in Europe and I am still in touch with them with the help of Facebook and Instagram. The above mentioned social networks help me to know what they are doing even regardless of the fact that they live far away from me.
In contrast, there are some negative aspects of such wide usage of mobile applications such as the decrease of culture and literacy levels. The tendency to use shortened words, abbreviations, and simple sentences while communicating online, and the abundance of unreliable sources of information such as blogs have resulted in inability of many young people to structure and express their thoughts and ideas correctly, and interact with someone face-to-face. In addition, applications usage can lead to decline of the culture standard that is proved by the popularity of some videos on YouTube and reality shows such as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” which in many cases have no educational, aesthetic, and moral value. Nevertheless, these examples are only mere demonstration of how great the impact of information technologies on culture is.
To conclude, though from the first sight all the above mentioned applications are just computer programs created for serving people, one should not underestimate how much people depend on them. I would say that the impact of information technologies and mobile applications on the modern culture and society in general is so great that it covers all the realms of our lives. Nowadays, we can speak about the new type of people who are much different from those who lived in the times before the informational revolution. The modern society is more informed, mobile, and able to learn quickly. We have already reconsidered the way we organize our time and household, the working and learning processes, and even the way we communicate with the others. And taking into consideration that the number of different applications grows every day, we are to witness many other changes that will occur in our society in future. But it is important to remember that the expansion of mobile applications, as well as any other phenomenon, can cause not only positive but also negative changes within society. That is why, starting to use another application, one should analyze how it would influence his personality and development.