I was doing laundry the other day when I happened to glance over at the box of Purex detergent setting on the dryer. Just a casual glance, but down at the bottom was an invitation for me to download the Purex app. To the left of that was a link to subscribe to their eNewsletter.
A newsletter about laundry detergent?
I guess I’m an old fogey, because I don’t see the need for all these apps. Everywhere you look, someone has one. I realize it’s part of promoting your product these days. Apparently, the Purex app has tips on doing your laundry, money-saving deals, stuff like that. I guess my real question is, is there really anyone out there who downloaded this thing?
Well, people believed in Bat Boy, that character the now-defunct Weekly World News came up with, so I guess anything’s possible.
I just have trouble picturing putting a laundry detergent app on my phone. Heck, I’ve got Twitter and next to never look at it. My Facebook usage is steadily going down because I’m getting tired of all the political rhetoric all over my wall. How anyone could fall for the likes of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders is beyond me. One will lead us into something I can’t even imagine, and the other will take us more toward the socialist side of things. And everyone in between is insane in some way that should knock them out of the running, but we get what we pay for.
And none of that is germane to what I’m talking about, though I have to wonder: if politicians had apps, would they crash all the time?
All of this is to say that, though being something of a tech geek, I feel increasingly bewildered at the things I see around me. Sometimes all these apps and websites and smart phones and being connected all the time feels overwhelming. As an author, I have to have things like Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote myself (and that includes this blog, which I doubt I’d devote time to otherwise), but that doesn’t mean I gleefully embrace them. Yeah, I like the jokes I see on FB, and this blog is a good way to talk about various things that interest me (though why I should imagine you want to hear about those things is beyond me, but apparently somebody finds me mildly interesting), but do I need them? Not really.
One of the problems with all this interconnectedness and instant communication is being noticed. It’s hard to make your (website/blog/Facebook page/Twitter… whatever it is) stand out among the masses, and standing out among the masses is what so many of us—we writers especially—strive to do. We want to be noticed, and we want to be heard. Us writers have a more practical need: we want to sell books.
But to so many who are growing up in this digital age, getting attention online seems to be the Holy Grail. Does that mean that, in an ever-increasing effort to gain attention, we’ll all have personal apps? “Download my app and I’ll give you exclusive updates on everything from what I have for breakfast to what my dog is doing.”
But, as authors, maybe an app wouldn’t be a bad idea. Fans could have the app and hear of new releases, get our blog posts, maybe hear our thoughts on every subject we think they need to hear our thoughts on, all if you’ll just download our app.
And, of course, we’ll have to hire somebody to design the app and keep it updated for us, because not many of us have programming skills. Writing in our native language is tough enough that we have little desire to learn another language to write in.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll go see if my favorite brand of toilet paper has an app. Or maybe not. I’m not sure I really want to know what their, uh, content would consist of.