Throughout history people have always claimed that “we have reached the peak of technological progress”.
Whether it was that the hot air balloon was the final mode of transport that man would invent, or that steam engines were where humanity could finally say that technology can get no better, it usually didn’t take too long before newer tech proved them wrong.
However, I am going to purposely throw myself into the ring and make the same bold claim once more… with a big asterisk beside it.
Has the technology the average person uses hit its peak, and will we see it stagnate or even take steps back, as we adjust to the new tech-filled world we live in?
Was the iPhone the start of the “peak”?
I am aware of how odd this statement sounds, especially considering I am of the generation that has grown up with fast-moving technology.
I remember growing up with the screams of dial-up and the overwhelming number of channels that Sky offered after being stuck with five channels to try and watch cartoons on. I also remember when our school bought laptops for the first time; heavy things which an eight-year-old Jordan struggled to move.
Come the time I entered secondary school, my flip phone was still cutting-edge, but only a year later that would all change with the introduction of the iPhone. Everything changed that day. Before the iPhone, we installed programs, now we install apps.
We used to use the family computer to browse the internet, but now you use your phone. Websites used to look awful, and now they are works of art (at least, that’s what we at Yardstick aim for). It is hard to overstate how much of an impact the iPhone had on technology in the years since it was released.
However, this is also where I believe we started to reach the peak I am talking about.
With the iPhone, and all the smartphones that followed, we now have near 100% access to everything, all the time. Emails, Facebook, games, calls, apps to order in a restaurant, your Covid-19 pass, and many more.
You name it, your smartphone is probably involved somehow. This is great, a central place for your entire life… right? Well, it seems the world doesn’t think so.
“Dumbphone” sales are rocketing
In 2020 sales of “dumbphones” – phones similar to those in the early 2000s – almost matched those of smartphones, with the BBC reporting almost a billion dumbphones were sold worldwide. That’s a 600 million increase from 2019, with a study showing 1 in 10 people in the UK own a dumbphone.
People are switching to dumbphones, a technological step back, for a variety of reasons including:
- The endless notifications causing you to come back to your phone
- The increase in awareness of how companies use your personal data for advertising
- The ability to doomscroll on social media causing people to feel depressed.
It isn’t just phones where people are ditching their tech.
With Elon Musk’s controversial takeover of Twitter, many users have been ditching the platform. While a lot of those users are moving to different platforms, such as Facebook or Mastodon, there’s a large portion which have said they are leaving social media for good.
Some news outlets have even predicted that the social media age is coming to an end as people turn away from the services.
On the other hand, social media has started to edge ahead of both national radio and newspapers as a source of news.
As such, it would be foolish to sideline social media as a dying medium at the minute. So don’t go rushing to cancel those Facebook campaigns you’re running, as there’s still a lot of value that your business can gain from lead generation campaigns on social media, and we don’t see this ending any time soon.
The nostalgic joys of an Argos catalogue
As we’re in the festive season, let’s finish with Santa’s wish list.
As a kid, you probably remember seeing ads on TV, or seeing toys in a shop, and writing them down in a list to send to Santa. Or maybe, if you’re my age, you remember the Argos catalogue and circling the items you wanted in the “big book of dreams”!
With the rise of Amazon, people started to make their wishlists there. Why not? It’s quick and simple, and they seemingly have every product under the sun, along with a dozen alternatives.
However, from my own observations on social media, many young parents are talking about the Argos catalogue once more, whether it is remembering “the good old days” or how they have their kids circle toys in a catalogue like they used to do.
While Argos have discontinued their catalogue, no matter which store I go in – whether it’s Aldi or Smyths – the stands near the entrance that hold the catalogues/booklets are almost always empty or have just a few catalogues left.
So, I can only assume that there are kids who have just finished writing their list to Santa, and maybe included a page from the Smyths booklet with arrows pointing to the new bike they want.
Maybe 2023 will be the year where all restaurants have physical menus again, where social media dies and face-to-face interactions become the most important, and where the Nokia 3310 becomes the best-selling phone on the market.
Or maybe, much like all those before me, I will be proved wrong and flying cars will finally hit the market, we’ll be able to upload our brains to a computer, and bitcoin becomes the world’s reserve currency.
Whatever happens with tech next year though, if it’s a new website you need or you’re looking for some engaging content to send to your clients, we’ll be there. Get in touch by email at email@example.com or call 0115 9865 300.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.