Lately I’ve felt a shift in the social and tech things I spend my time on, and that shift has been decidedly toward things that do things. I’ve spent a lot of time doing the “mindcasting” thing, and I’m sure I’ll do more of it, but right now my obsession is with apps and social interactions that generate real-world results.
The biggest of those in terms of time spent has been my Jawbone Up Band, which my company purchased for me (and everyone else) the other week. It’s essentially a health monitor that tracks calories, exercise and sleep. I’ve got it synced up with MyFitnessPal, which I like a bit better for logging meals. A few times a day, I sync my band with the Up Band iOS app to see my intake/output for the day. That helps me decide if, for instance, I should get off the bus a stop or two early, or if I need an earlier bed time to remain functional the next day.
The point is, having that data available to me allows me to make decisions based on it (even if it’s not exact). The broader point is that that’s a hell of a lot more useful to me than a handful of Facebook Likes.
I’m convinced at the moment this shift toward “do stuff” social and tech isn’t just a me thing, either. From what I’ve observed of how the newest generation of social users — teenagers — is adopting social media, it’s less about cataloging and amassing followings and more about creating actions. Take Snapchat for example: The whole point of the network is that your stuff disappears after 10 seconds or less. Your posts aren’t so much billboards as they are postcards. And in terms of real-life action, you’re sending posts to a much more private network — people who get you — making the emotional impact much more personal (like the difference between a joke, and an inside joke).
We’ll see where this goes. Social media in particular has always amounted to what users have made of it, but I think we’ll see more apps like Snapchat, that are designed with an actionable use in mind, pop up.