Strathclyde Telegraph

Are We Going Too Fast?

Would it be possible to live in our society ignoring all the new technologies that are introduced every day?

Apple has just released their “new” product offerings, including – as usual – an updated version of the iPhone. Although it is very well known that there is no need to change mobile phones every year, somehow, we all find ourselves wanting the newest gadget. Even though I bought an iPhone 6 last year, I already feel the pressure of buying the iPhone X that just came out.

The most curious thing about the ‘Apple phenomenon’ is that pretty much every user knows the products are mostly overpriced, and that many less expensive smartphones could provide with an equivalent service. However, what Apple has always understood is the importance of comprehending consumer behaviour, especially all the psychological mechanisms that come into play when we decide to buy something. They created a very clear brand identity, introducing characteristic features that make users immediately think of them, or should we ask Siri to confirm that? Thus, Apple gives its users status, and the feeling of belonging to a larger community.

More importantly, what the ‘Apple phenomenon’ unveils is the extent to which consumerism is present in our society and how it is affecting us, especially the younger generation. Never before in history was de-personalisation as prominent as it is now. Identity loss is positively correlated with the acquirement of new identities through items that have their own status. It is not the product at the customer’s use; on the opposite, the consumer becomes what the product image conveys.

By using new technologies and the fast adoption of worldwide trends, we are all moving towards a copy-&-paste mechanism in which we are not driven by the usability of a product but by its popularity. We are a branded society, where company logos are shown off and have become more relevant that the products they are upon.

We increasingly look forward to acquiring job positions based on what they can provide economically. Our only aim is to gain financial wellness in order to establish a personal status, which can then boost and satisfy our consumption patterns, that in turn give us a higher social status.

There is a thin line between conducting the game and being its slave. Younger generations have the monopoly on everything when it comes to new technological applications and fashion trends. We are the early adopters, as soon as a product comes out we have it. And there is a sense of pride in it, because it is OUR product.

Is this phenomenon destined to portray and grow in the next generations?

Generation Z has already partly confirmed the assumption; gaining technological skills faster than ever. However, due to our society’ fast pace – which technology maintains rolling, it is very hard to predict accurately how all these implications will develop and shape the next decade.

The risk is to lose the fundamental values currently embedded in our society, and see them replaced by a starving drive to want more, being less.

By Chiara Mannarino