What are we doing?

Yesterday, after work, I came home and made some food for myself. After cleaning up I sat down on the couch with my roommate James and started some banter. All of the sudden we get to talking about games on our mobile devices. He tells me about a game that he recently played on a friend’s iPhone. The game is called Harbor Master (we actually played the free version). It’s a real entertaining game. What hooked me was the fact that he told me he had a high score of 81. I wanted to beat it! So, for about an hour and a half I played and played until I got an 83. He decided that he should try and beat it. Sure enough, he did with a 93. I can’t remember what the next scores were but I know that we ended up tying with a score of 103. That was three hours later. But it didn’t stop there! We played another game, ninjump. Great game but we only competed for about 30-40 minutes. We had spent about 4 hours playing games.

I didn’t go to bed until 5 am last night. But it was at about 4 that I realized that I don’t know what were driving towards in terms of internet technology. For one, my roommate and I had just spend hours playing a game, and then I spent hours on sites looking for content. Why do we do this? Why are services created to help us do this? It’s a strange question to ask, I think.  I am half tech savvy but also half consumer. I am using consumer to mean the large non-tech savvy market. The average consumer will use the services to connect to others and to fill the time between work and sleep. I realized how important this was to me. Before bed my roommate and I talked about our bookmarks bar. We agreed that it’s full of things that help us “waste” time. We also agreed that they all have a social element to them.

What are we doing? Consumer (large market) facing products are “time wasters” and social. I hesitate to take off the quotations on waste for two reasons. First, there is a real social need in humans that is filled by these services. Second, spending time on these services isn’t always about wasting time or a waste of time. What I mean is that there are occasions when we log on to these services to obtain information (i.e. Q&A services, asking your friends on FB for advice, etc.) or we log on and find, by socializing or by luck, an idea that can be put to use. This is one of the reasons that large corporations are beginning to bring Twitter-like clients for their employees. They want to democratize innovation. It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a low-level employee, if you’re idea is good it will be used.

The trend seems to be to socialize every aspect of our lives. As I write this, I am realizing that socializing the internet is being leveraged by these tech companies. Although there is a lot of “filler” on these pages, there is gold in them too. Think about your daily talks with friends. There is a lot of filler there too but on occasion you find a gem. If people could not only socialize within their group of friends but those far away the potential for creation increases. There has been no shortage of discussions with the roommates of potential businesses that are later found to have just started or just started getting traction. We’re social animals, connections are necessary. Do we need perpetual connections? Probably not. In my experience, I like the feeling of having my friends, my family and the world’s information at my fingertips.

What are we doing? Who knows, it’s a question that is cannot be answered by an individual. There a many different individuals driving what we’re doing technologically. Whatever ends up being the case, it seems that social will be the king. It has to be. We are human. We are social.

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