Have you been blissfully caught off guard by all of these new and fancy tech trends that are saturating the marketplace? Wonder which tech trends will stick around or which should be buried in the desert along with lost copies of Atari cartridges? Yeah, I hear you. Personally, I don’t have a whole lot of time to be perusing and checking out these new apps and gadgets all on my lonesome, so usually it’s on the suggestion of a friend or maybe a rogue reader with a keen eye that wants to get my opinion. So I took a look over some pretty big tech trends that have made a big impact on 2013 so far. Take a look and add your own! You know, be interactive!
Tech Trends: The Apps We Love and Hate
Snapchat: So some Stanford University students got together and pieced together an app that would allow the user to take brief snapshots from one second to 10 seconds and, then they allegedly fade off into the ether, never to be seen again. Currently, the demographic model is full of tweens, teens, and baby-adults below the age of 25, which puts Snapchat in a weird position. Anyone I know over the age of 25 who owns Snapchat is adorably questionable, at best, or they’re curious just like most of us are. What does it mean? What’s the reason? Users can take lurid pictures, embarrassing selfies, and revealing portraits and think that they will vaporize the second they will it, yet dozens of programs on the Google Play store say otherwise.
Just searching “Snapchat” shows that obviously an exploit exists, as well as reports that those images of yours don’t exactly leave. No, in fact they are saved for at least 30 days anyhow, so obviously some smart little jerks have figured out how to save your preciously stupid brain hiccups that made you take snaps of your junk and post them up for mere seconds. Can someone screenshot it? Sure they can. What does the company think of this? Obviously it finds it deplorable but — hey — you’re the one trusting an app with your naughty bits, so who is really at fault here?
Vine and Instagram Video: Founded in 2012 and then quickly acquired by Twitter, Vine’s a nifty little program that helps you make and produce six-second videos that are easily condensed and posted up on social media without the huff and puff of most social media outlets like Facebook and such. Instagram would release its own quickshot video section to its app that allows up to 15 seconds as well as your normal Instagram filters. The fascinating thing about this is what people are doing with these videos.
People like Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, used Vine to post the most popular reaction on Twitter to the Red Wedding episode of her show, acted out in mere seconds by herself. Folks are getting creative in thrilling ways and using Vine and Instagram to show it off, and it’s never been more interactive of a world as when you give the people a way to let you see through their eyes, one sepia filter at a time. Some tech trends are exciting in simple ways.
Candy Crush Saga: Who would’ve guessed that a candy-coated, brightly colored Bejeweled clone would so easily capture the hearts of people all around the world? But nobody can stop it. I had yet to have witnessed this confection that developers at King came up with in April of 2012 and less than a year later, it surpassed FarmVille in social media games. What was doing it? Was it how quick it is to pick up such a simple concept with adorable, harmless visuals? Possibly.
It might have something to do with the fact it isn’t a required time sink like most of those other “Ville” games happen to be. When you don’t need to constantly tend to crops, check on your city, or any other arguable waste of time, it opens you up to be able to enjoy something more at random. With only a set amount of turns, most levels don’t take long to complete. And while you are only allotted a certain amount of retries within a time period, it’s not such a bad thing to be told to back down and go do something else until you have more opportunities to bite into a level. Not too bad for a brand new title to bring in nearly $700,000 a day in revenue, is it? Quite a bit of money people are spending on those truffles, you know?
Real Racing 3: Is it possible we’re doing too much with our smart phones? Are they making us dumber? Are they making us think we have any business playing a racing game on our phones? Sure, I can understand tablets that are wide enough to handle and/or appreciate a game of this kind of high-definition, but I know people who are turning on their phones and syncing up to this game on an almost daily level.
Why are we doing this, hmm? Released in February of this year, Real Racing 3 absolutely wowed critics with its beauty and rightly so; the game has some incredible presentation, offers in-app purchases for vehicles and upgrades, and does what most free-to-play app games do but with the splendor and visuals of something you’d see on our current-generation gaming consoles. So it’s beautiful and it’s making money, but do we need it on our phones? On our tablets, sure, but our phones?
Playing this on my phone felt wrong and awkward, yet I was still compelled to play it just so I could see the visuals some more. Cars are crisp and beautiful, tracks are well laid-out, and this game could easily be something I’d purchase for $15 on the PlayStation Network and race against my friends. Instead? Phone. I’m stuck with it on a phone. Makes no sense.
Soundtracking: Bringing a “check in” approach to your music collection, Soundtracking is like setting a playlist for your day, not ahead of time but as your day happens around you! Listening to a song and it’s speaking to your current mood? Soundtrack it and the app will either listen to the sound around you if you’re listening out loud, grab it off of your phone, tablet, or Spotify, or you can search for the song you’re thinking of at that moment and let it out on Facebook and Twitter.
Maybe people will dig your vibe and follow your Soundtrack, opening up brand new audiences to music at the touch of a button. Honestly, of all the things listed here in this article, I think Soundtracking is a tech trend that has turned me on the most with its quick, reflexive interface, its smart lingo, and its no-frills desire to share music with everyone I know.
Tech Trends: Social Media and the New Niche Machines
While some of these tech trends are certainly not new, they’ve either faded into the background or blown up more recently and I’m thinking it has to do with the user experience. We’ve all changed, haven’t we? With more freedom comes far more responsibility, and when you let the world at large play with websites like Tumblr, Vine, and Instagram, we all become a little more in tune with the audience we built.
The lot of us have a song to sing aloud and when we know we have all these freedoms to say what we want when we’re doing it without the constraints of Facebook or MySpace (do people still use that?) to hide their pretty words and take away their creative process.
Tumblr: With a dashboard consisting of seven buttons sprawled out at the top of your page, you can get to ushering forth your message as quickly and evenly as possible. The tech trend of hashtags are like the private little Reddit pages that you keep all to yourself, pleasantly seeking what other users are creating, talking about and re-blogging from their minds or from the minds of others.
Microblogging has gone where bigger blogs couldn’t go, and that’s where Twitter sent them. When WordPress is too heavy and meant for those intensely dedicated to the words and audience at large, Tumblr just wanted to see what you had to say and without the pretense or complication. In June of this year, Yahoo! bought Tumblr and, as of August 8th, Tumblr hosts more than 100 million blogs. Not too shabby for the place that people too chatty for Twitter go in order to get their heavenly Internet sermons to the masses, be they photos, gifs, or rants about the upcoming season of BBC’s Sherlock.
Fitocracy: Combining the love of reaching levels and achieving goals in video games, Fitocracy is among tech trends that award users with achievements to boast for every fitness landmark they reach in goals set forth by fitness instructors, professional nutritionists, and more from all over the world. Completing quests always seemed like something out of World of Warcraft and those tech-savvy yet health-seeking individuals could do well to give Fitocracy a try and see if it fits, so to speak, with their trophy-requiring lives.
Does it work? Sure, dozens swear by it, and my feed is littered with wonderful achievements and fitness peaks that friends of mine worked hard to get and boast about with pride! See, getting some fun recognition doesn’t have to be reserved for video games only, but when you pump out some of those crunches before work in the morning, too!
Klout, Pinterest, and LinkedIn?: Are we still doing this Klout thing? Are people still “pinning,” and is anyone actually checking out their LinkedIn activity? To me, Klout always seemed like a place where people impregnated each others’ feeds with self-importance and over-inflated corporate sponsorship. Talk too much about some beverages and someone will consider you an “Influencer” so much so that, before you know it, bitches be offering you tea bags as a Klout Perk. Yeah, that happens. That happened to me. Some tech trends are kind of lame.
Pinterest?: It’s Tumblr for those without the attention span to push forward and send their own message so much as re-pin someone else’s neatly — it’s like scrapbooking on the Internet. It came and went and died a death when people realized the simplicity of other sites and how we could easily tell our stories outside of just repeated imagery on a corkboard.
As far as I know, not a single person has actually gained a job and/or done anything other than show off the people they know on LinkedIn. An ever-growing resume online, it becomes a quick study in Facebook for the workplace and nobody should be offering jobs to people based on some delightful little blurbs and resume-esque coding on a website. No, we need to see it as social media only and something that holds the same weight as Facebook because we can still, easily, control our message there.
Hell, I haven’t logged into my main LinkedIn page in years and if anyone were to look that up, they’d think I hadn’t worked at a new place since 2007. Is that true? Sure isn’t. However, when you look me up on Google, it’s one of the first pages you see. Now is that anything you should be regarding heavily when it comes to your professional career? No, because it’s still just another page on the search engine that can come and go with the fleeting fancy of the average human’s attention span (and fickle tech trends).
Tech Trends: So What’s Next?
It’s leaving a lot of possibility for the upcoming applications and social media mavens when you see just where we’re sitting now with tech trends, isn’t it? With rumors swirling about an Amazon branded gaming console akin to the recently crowd-funded OUYA, we could see integration with our current tech that brings not just gaming applications, but social media applications to a brand new front. It’s always been a cumbersome thing to take part in the Android world from the comfort of your television and such, but maybe that day is soon to pass.
The world is brimming with technology and its naturally forming tech trends, and the biggest and brightest are yet to come. Once we’re all wearing eyeglass smart phones and wearing small hard drives as watches, none of us are going to look back at 2013’s early half and think that the tech trends going on were anything other than a flash in the pan. We’re going places, kids. Look out.
What apps and websites have caught your attention this year and what are you hoping to stumble upon before 2014 rears its glorious head on us all? Sound off below and share your best guesses for future tech trends with the lot of us!