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Mobile Apps - optimizing the self

Kayla Lidstone's picture

 Last week I spoke about the South African app Secret Agent – which was an interesting way of making small amounts of money for the average individual with an iPhone or Android smartphone.This week I’m going to look at other apps that have shaped the way we use the Internet in efficient ways.

Application software, otherwise known as apps, are programs that we download in order to perform certain tasks. Today, people usually talk about mobile apps but they can also be used to customise your PC.
As we seem to moving more and more mobile in the technological sphere of things, a lot of apps are being made especially for mobile users while the apps used to only be available on a desktop computer.
But with phones being a lot like compact computers these days – here’s looking at the iPhone 5C and the Samsung Galaxy S5 – they are one step ahead of a computer. When laptops came into fashion I’m sure that many thought that this was the final step in mobile computing. And then came the iPad and other generics and then came the iPhone and its generics.
iPhones and Android smartphones  are now a new way for many people to access the internet and has become how many schedule and organise their lives. Youtube is coming out with a new app for content creators – making it simpler for their users to connect with their subscribers and fans, Facebook is coming out with optimisation apps all the time and so are many other social networks like Pinterest, LinkedIn etc.
Anonymity brought back to the Internet
When the Internet was created, we were assured anonymity. However, the Internet has actually become a large public space where anonymity is actually not all that prevalent. Over time, social networks have become the public eye, anything we say or do online we can now be held accountable for.
Let’s look at Facebook as an example. It is very much a public space with over 1 billion monthly active users. It is easy for the things that you post to come back to haunt you. Just to name a few ways in which you are taken to court - harassment, copyright infringement and invasion of privacy.
Anonymous apps let us be ourselves again on the Internet.
BUT (and I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this) everytime the Internet has some kind of issue; something comes along and balances the situation out – almost as if it remedies itself.
We now have anonymity apps. For those of you who want to share without getting into trouble or without any consequences whatsoever, these apps are for you.
Two anonymity apps in particular would be Secret and Whisper and they allow one to post anonymously without fear of conviction or judgment. Above is a screenshot of one of the posts from Whisper.
Apps aren’t the only ways to make things anonymous though. In my university, there is a page on Facebook called Rhodes Confessions where students – or really anyone – can post “anonymously” through Google Forms to the admin of the page. The reason I have put anonymously in inverted commas is because we can’t really be certain if it is anonymous or whether the admin can see who we are.  We just have to trust that their claimed anonymity is true.
Pages such as this one are also flawed in the way that some posts are filtered out if they are not interesting enough or if the admin don’t find the content suitable. So not reeeeally freedom of speech entirely.
Added to the cons of this kind of "anonymity", people are often extremely rude and judgemental in the comments section.  Not really so fun being anonymous when people bring you down like this.
GPS apps
Many apps use GPS to function – such as the Secret Agent app I spoke about in my previous blog. Another example would be one that has only recently come out called Gymsurfing which allows one to book day passes at nearby gyms while travelling.
GPS on your phone is so much more than just for driving directions these days. There is a whole list of different apps using your GPS. Here are a few that I found to be really cool.
There are many like the Gymsurfing app which lead you to specific places around your location. Click here to browse through a whole bunch of interesting ones.
Apps such as this one allow users to usually share their experiences with their friends. So, an app that guides you to a restaurant in the area will allow you to rate the restaurant and tell your friends about what it was like. Apps have all kinds of functions like this making our lives easier, faster and more efficient.
There are so many different apps with different functions that use different elements of your smartphone. To browse through them, visit your iPhone or Google play store.
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