Of Imagination, Technology, and Selfie

BY: JUSEPH ELAS



As kids, we were taught that imagination plays a vital role in the efforts to hone our young minds. Moreover, as we grow up, as we take one step of the ladder and another, we are constantly reminded that we have to be able to imagine; the world moves because people were able to imagine how to make it move. Just like our picture of the world, we will not have the picture of the world some hundreds of years ago if historians, artists and scientists did not imagined how it really was in the past.

But let’s not dwell much in the past, let’s talk of what is happening today.

I think everyone knows who Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg is; what Samsung Galaxy s4 and iPhone 5 is; what Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is. For a moment, let us try to imagine what the world would be without these people, applications and gadgets.

Dull. Boring.

That is the effect of technology to me, to you, and to all of us. Technology, over the years have become so powerful and developed that it actually started to enslave us without us consciously knowing about it. Maria Ressa, Rappler President and C.E.O., said during the Go Negosyo 3rd Philippine Technopreneurship Summit that our generation is among the first who will be working for people who know less than we do. That is true. Right now, our bosses, teachers, and employers, may not know how to edit an AVP in a high-end quality, they may not know how to use instagram, and they may not even know how to use smartphones like the iPhone and Samsung galaxy. However, us, the youth, know more than they do. Whether you believe it or not, more than 90% of us, smartphone users, have already figured how to use every single specs of our phone.

In the data released by GfK, one of the biggest research companies in the entire globe, last May 2013, the smartphone rate in the Philippines reached 146 percent, making the Philippines as the fastest growing market for smartphones beating other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. In addition, this is probably a result of the Filipinos inclination to SMS or Short Messaging Services and the use of social media.

Even myself, I won’t last a day without my beloved Blackberry.

Personally, I use this phone for SMS and calls purposes. But I can’t stress enough that that is only the surface as to why I won’t last a day without my phone because I also use it for entertainment – Twitter, Facebook, music, etc. Now, we may be on the same page on this, but professionals, especially those under the White-Collar category, use their phones to make bank transactions and close important deals.

Let us discuss one application that is so close to the heart of every teenager, nowadays. I think everyone knows what “Camera360” is. If you try to go to Google playstore website, the description for Camera360 is, “Camera360, loved by more than 250 million users globally, is No.1 camera app in many countries. Camera360 provides a comprehensive suite of professional yet fun mobile photography options.”

However, I bet that some of us did not mind reading this description because after hearing testimonials of a friend who uses the app, we automatically became so interested that we immediately click the download button and used the app. As a result, the “selfie culture” was propagated and it almost immediately spread like a wild fire.

You know what is so amazing? It did not only spread to us, the youth, but also for the youth-at-heart. At the recently concluded Oscars, Ellen [DeGeneres] took a photo, a selfie, of co-Hollywood personalities that includes Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Meryl Streep and tweeted it, which has gotten over millions of retweets.

I bet that the maker/developer of Camera360, or whatever photography applications there are, did not imagine, in their wildest of dreams, that those apps will be a key to propagate such culture among the Filipino youth. Coupled with some other social media, the selfie culture has really spread like a wild fire and will continue spreading because we are capable of imagining what’s next for these applications.

At the end of the day, we can describe the connection between the youth and smartphones in two different ways; (1) the smartly use of smartphones for educational and business purposes and (2) for sheer entertainment.

Change is something constant in this world and we all know that. But one thing I think will never change is technology. It is here to stay until something will come and replace technology. Of course, that will take a lot of imagining but nothing is impossible. We just have to use our imagination.
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