Do people care?

This week I am writing about something I have noticed -and I am surely not the only one- that I find quite annoying. We have all different kind of applications on our smartphone with various functions, suited to pass the time and keep in touch with our friends. The thing that always drew me to these apps was the fact that you had a different app for everything, and it became a sort of ritual to check them in the morning and before going to bed. It was a great way to see what everybody had been up to that day. The apps I am referring to are Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. I used every single one for different things.

The thing that these apps now all have in common are ‘stories’. These are sequences of pictures and ten seconds lasting videos users can upload and share with their friends. This was originally a Snapchat-thing until Instagram copied it. At the beginning I was sceptical. But then I realised that Instagram made a good decision introducing this because it is an excellent way of showing pictures you think are worth sharing, but not that important to have on your feed for a longer period.

Anyways, when Facebook introduced stories I was sure this could never work. I think Facebook should stay fun, but it is also used for serious things like work and school and I for one am not pleased with people posting the littlest thing on their mind. My list of friends on Facebook is way more extensive than on Instagram or Snapchat. Not everything I do or every picture I take is important enough to share with this range of people, who can be employers for example. It works in the opposite direction too. I don’t wish to be informed in the same way about my friends on Facebook as I do about my friends on Instagram and Snapchat.

I am sure that I am not the only one with this opinion and I wonder if Facebook will delete this or not as I have not seen any positive comments on this so far. The simple question that the people from Facebook should be asking their selves is ‘Do people care?’ because frankly, I don’t think we do.
This was my last blog post about topics I find interesting in my field of study, Communication Sciences. Thank you for reading and following!

Bye bye Freemium

This Thursday in class, the professor started talking about something that I think matches the theme subject of my blog- technology and our way of dealing with it. I chose to carry on in this direction because I read and hear things every week that are interesting to write about.
Anyway, it seems the free music provider Spotify is turning over a new leaf; they will be charging people for downloading music from their application from now on.
The first thought in my head was that this is a good thing. We have been downloading for free for way to long. This issue is largely discussed for obvious reasons also; you shouldn’t just steal a musician’s work. I think it’s important here to take films and games into account too. Producing something in any of these sectors requires so much creative thinking and intense work that it is in my opinion that we should just reward all people involved in the process by paying for it.
Back to the case of Spotify. Their way of providing music- this if, for free- caused the relationship between Spotify and music producers like Universal, Sony and Warner to be quite on the downside.
I think it’s quite logical that these three producers are against freemium, as it makes them lose a lot of profits. According to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek they came to this radical agreement because Spotify has to pay less royalty’s to Universal, Sony and Warner. I think this is a great way of making drastic changes for the music industry, and still manage to cooperate. Also, Spotify having to pay less royalty’s came in quite handy and just in time for them; they could not manage to keep out of red numbers.
In my opinion they should work with a system of paying fixed amounts. This formula has already proven to be effective and successful, this became obvious when Netflix started to become more and more popular. On the other side, I do strongly believe this will get a lot of negative feedback. People have become so used to free downloads and the opportunities on the internet for doing this are endless. It’s an almost impossible mission to end piracy and free downloading entirely. But I do believe that big providers like Spotify are making a good example out of themselves, and that’s a great start!

Secondhand technology

My previous post was about how new technologies are taking over the traditional ways of consuming information. It seems interesting to write about the exact opposite trend for my new blog post and to compare these two trends.

I found a good example of this opposite trend. Nokia recently came up with a new phone, that is actually not that new at all. Except for some minor changes it’s the old standard Nokia phone without touchscreen, without any apps or all the extra’s we got so used to in the past decade. The reason I’m writing about this Nokia phone is because this convinces me even more that we are starting to miss how “old” technology used to be. Talking to friends I often hear how they can become really annoyed by their smartphone, constantly asking to update app’s, ringing and buzzing.

I haven’t only noticed this for phones, in the past year there has been a drastic increase in the sale of vinyl records too. Their popularity decreased when the compact disc or CD was invented, and later the MP3-player. The fact that people choose to pay 20 to 25 euros for a record instead of just downloading it for free from the internet shows how much touchable are being missed. Vinyl now makes up 5% of all incomes coming from music. However, streaming still wins this race with 33,5%, as reported in De Morgen

In short, I think it’s very interesting to see this evolving and to discuss how far this will all go. The previous examples show how people keep reaching back to “old” technologies, but in another article (http://www.demorgen.be/technologie/3d-printer-bouwt-huis-in-amper-24-uur-bd499bef/) I read about how a fully equipped home can be built in just 24 hours, proving that new technology can help many people if it’s used correctly. In my opinion technology for private use will return to its roots but with a new twist. For the broader audience and in our society technology will keep on renewing and having more consequences, like experiments with self-driving cars. But still the question remains if these consequences will always be good for all people and our especially for our environment.

Quantity = quality?

While reading my newspaper this morning, I came across something very interesting and also a largely discussed topic in communication sciences. The article was about a new way of reading books. The Dutch website Bol.com came up with a new platform called Kobo+. Readers can download all the books they want, for a fixed amount of money. I myself had to make a presentation about the effect of e-books on the sale of normal books. That’s why this article drew my attention immediately. Although I was quite sceptical at first -as I do not believe electronic books could ever take over books as we always knew them- eventually, I could understand the logic behind this. Bol.com’s Managing Director Daniël Ropers explained why this can be a success.
He claims that often people feel disappointed about buying a book that eventually did not meet their expectations. However, if the costumer could just skip this book and find another one for free this would initiate a whole new way of reading. I understand where he is heading with this reasoning but I think he is forgetting something very important: E-books are just not that popular. A broad range of advantages comes along with e-books. You can stay at home and read a book of your choosing in just a few clicks. The website also houses a numerous amount of books. The question that remains is if quantity is as important as quality. People need time to adjust to new technologies and e-books are asking quite a lot of adjustment, as we no longer hold a book in hands. According to several studies Flemish people don’t consume that many e-books and those studies even show sales are decreasing constantly. The idea of this new form of reading is revolutionary but people are far from ready to change along with it.