By Sonja Nikcevic
(See what I did there? Hilarious. I know.)
Once upon a time, not too long ago, the contents of your purse, or pocket, could tell you a lot about your personality, and life situation. Sadly small coins, pieces of lint, and library card usually meant student, while a mix of pop-up books, diapers, lipstick and day planners meant Supermom. Now zip back into the technologically-charged present and you’ll see that not much has changed. The content of your pocket and bag can still tell the world who you are, but now, all that content has been neatly wrapped up into a smartphone shaped super-gadget/mirror into your soul.
The choices, and personality markers, start early on into the game. Do you have an iPhone or an Android (3,4 or 5? Samsung or HTC?). Do you keep your phone in a frame or case? (Back or flip cover, silicon or plastic?). The choices are endless, and so are the ways of making your phone truly and individually YOURS. But once you make your choices, and get past the external, the juicy stuff begins.
Apps. Those handy little, super addicting bits of software designed to make our lives THAT much easier. Don’t know how to boil an egg? Ever wondered what you’d look like as a zombie? Need to torture somebody super-quick?? Never fear, the (slightly disturbing) world of apps is here.
And statistics show that we could not and would not live without them. According to app analytics firm Flurry, the average user spends 158 minutes on their smartphone or tablet daily. A staggering 80% of this time is spent on apps. And an even more staggering 1.2 billion people worldwide were using mobile apps by the end of last year. If stats like these get your blood going, check out more of them here. Alternatively, download the app.
Now take a good hard look at that smartphone menu of yours and think about what those two app-filled hours daily say about you. Are your favorites 101+ Photo Effects, Local Concerts, and that ever important Virtual Zippo Lighter app? Some less sensitive then I am might call you a hipster. Others might say that hipsters are too cool for apps and have real zippo lighters.
The point being – apps are part of our daily routine, and as such, have become an important part of our personality. So, Facebook, Whatsapp and email aside, let me take you on a tour of some of my favorites.
Those who know me well might say I have a slight problem. I will obviously deny this and say I can quit whenever I want. I just don’t want too. If you understand the stress of chocolate eating your color bomb, or the recent disappearance of the booster wheel, you know what I’m talking about. You are also one of every 23 Facebook users that play the game. TIME Magazine insists there is an entire science behind our addiction, and I tend to agree. But it’s also pretty easy to explain. Simple rules, pretty colors, (evil) chocolate and candy galore- what’s not to like? What I like the most though is that it’s never-ending. The better people get at it, the more levels the creators make. Right now there are 546 levels, with a new one being produced every two weeks. Our very own Everest app.
This one has become another fast favorite, and a possible sign of my language obsessiveness. Why play just any game when you can play game that teaches you a language in the process? That’s exactly what Duolingo, the little green owl, does. Their website explains it all perfectly – it’s a completely free language learning app, designed and scientifically proven to help you learn to read, write speak and spell in one of the six languages on offer. It’s also “gamified” to keep you interested – miss a word, lose a life, do well to earn tokens and so on. It’s so cool there’s even a TED talk on it.
XE Currency and Google Translate – my two favorite converter apps.
One converts foreign words, the other foreign currency. Both indispensable if you lived in a) Denmark (Divide by 7.5 to get from Kroner to Euro? No thank you) and/or b) Germany, where English isn’t as highly valued as you might think. Both have saved me countless brain cells and kroner/cents.
Foursquare is a check in app. Go somewhere cool, turn on that battery-sucking mobile GPS, link it with social media, and tell the world. Not tooo revolutionary but fun all the same. What Foursquare added into the picture was good old competition. Places are divided into categories, some that are worth more points than others, and rankings between all your foursquare friends are created. You can also become the mayor of a place by checking in more than anybody else, and by usually stealing the mayorship from somebody else. It’s also interactive – meaning that you can add your own house and check in all day every day, or ahem, have a competition with your roommates. However, it wasn’t long before Foursquare became more than loonies figting for fake mayorships. Businesses took advantage of it, with certain places offering a discount or free drink if you checked in and shared where you were. Also super helpful is the ‘Browse nearby’ option. Stuck somewhere and need a coffee or ATM (as I seem to do often)? Foursquare has you covered, locating you and what you need most and gving you the distance and address. It also has handy categories like ‘sights’ ‘food’ and ‘coffee’.
All in all, apps are everywhere, including our personalities. Mine probably say that I travel too much and have candy issues. So, join in, get downloading, but maybe not use an app for EVERYTHING. Real life is out there too.
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