As much as we love our technology, we don’t always welcome it with open arms. In an age where thousands of companies – small and large alike – are constantly telling us that their new product is going to fundamentally change our lives, it’s only natural that we’d be skeptical. Sometimes, however, we’ve been proven wrong. Really, really wrong. We thought it would be fun to take a look back at our mistakes and see what many of us felt were not the best ideas and now can’t be without. If you’re ready to marvel at what you once got so wrong, then read on!
Can you imagine a world without texting? Back when text messaging was new, this was what many of us hoped for. Unlimited texting wasn’t really a thing then, so we were paying per message. This made you really think about whether it was worth sending that extra “lol” or “k” – and if you didn’t, the person you were chatting with would think you were rude. Plus, let’s not forget that this was before the days of Blackberrys and touchscreens, so you had to use the number pad to type out your responses. Let’s just pause for a second and remember how time-consuming and annoying this was.
Now, the situation has basically reversed and the idea of actually talking to someone seems strange. Texting is now the easiest it’s ever been: we can speak into our phone and convert it to text, slide a finger over the keyboard to form words, or even use predictive typing to form messages. Is it lowering the quality of our conversations? Probably. But we definitely won’t be getting rid of texting any time soon!
Photo courtesy of MacLife
In the age of Instagram, Snapchat & selfies, it’s hard to imagine a time where we couldn’t understand why we would ever need a camera on our phones. After all, why would we ever need a camera phone when we all had perfectly good point-and-shoots? Yes, it would be more convenient to have both on one device, but early camera phones were pretty bad. They took very low-res photos, and even if you managed to snap a great one, you didn’t really have a good way to get it off of your phone to show people.
As time went on, camera phones kept improving and in some cases even started to get even better than the digital cameras that many of us had collecting dust at home. Once smartphones & social media became more common, they even made it easier to share your photos with others.
When the first iPhone was announced back in 2007, it was unlike anything that most of us had ever seen. “What do you mean there’s no keyboard?!?? How are we supposed to write emails??” This confusion was perhaps summed up best by then-Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer:
Back in the days of AOL & AltaVista, a search engine was much more than a place to enter search terms; it was also a branching off point for content discovery. Yes, searching was important, but so was discovering articles, games, discussion forums & other fun things that you hadn’t thought of on the web. When Google came along, it challenged this format by presenting you only with a search box. Since search wasn’t the exclusive function of a search engine, many of us couldn’t wrap our heads around why we would choose an option that didn’t give us other things to do as well.
Once we started using Google more, it became more and more clear why this was the better way to find content. Instead of reading articles that you were vaguely interested in, searching allowed you to find exactly what you’d like instead, so it was a superior way to start your online journey. Google went on to become so important that we now use it as a word to describe searching for something on the Internet (just try asking “hey, can you look that up in a search engine for me?” and see how people will look at you like you have 2 heads).
Though some of us appreciated wifi right away, many of us didn’t really see the point. Remember, this was before smartphones & tablets, so really the only thing you’d need to connect to wifi was your computer. If you didn’t have a laptop, then there wasn’t really much point to getting wifi; after all, your desktop was already doing just fine being plugged into your modem. Or, maybe you had a router, but you’d already figured out how to run cables throughout your house to connect multiple computers to it.
Now, wifi is basically a necessity. Many of our devices don’t even have ports to plug into a modem, so it’s the only way for us to get online. Wifi is now so commonplace that you now offer your guests a wifi password in addition to taking their coats and giving them a glass of water.
When Twitter first came out, many of us laughed at the concept of it. Why would anyone care what we were doing? And what’s with only being given 140 characters to use for our messages? As it turned out, we ended up liking this limitation because it forced us to get our points across as efficiently as possible. Plus, we ended up shifting away from ‘what are you doing’ and more towards ‘ what are you thinking?’ As a result, the network has become the go-to platform for communicating on different topics, everything from American Idol to human rights.
When we first heard about Wikipedia, the idea of user-generated information was difficult to process. Anonymous contributors writing encyclopedia entries was hard to take as seriously as something more “official” like the Encyclopedia Britannica. Over the years, however, the format proved to be a success and became our go-to source to learn more about a topic. Now, Wikipedia’s format of allowing anyone to write and update entries can feel more trustworthy than a traditional encyclopedia with topics written by just one person. Plus, the information is more up-to-date than a printed publication. Plus the fact that it’s free doesn’t hurt, either.
At first, no one could have imagined how huge YouTube would go on to become in the world of online video. After all, why anyone care to see someone’s videos of their cat or their kids pronouncing ‘spaghetti’ wrong? Well, turns out we do care. A lot. Now, when you think online video, you think YouTube. It’s become so many different things: a way to share our thoughts with the world, watch clips from our favourite shows, and even a way to get famous (for better or for worse…after all, it’s how Justin Bieber did it). Many of us will even go to YouTube to learn more about a topic than look for articles on Google.
Perhaps the most embarrassing tech that we all laughed at when it first came out was the iPad. Was it an over-sized iPhone or an under-powered laptop? Either way, we were very quick to dismiss it as completely pointless.
As it turned out, we actually liked the larger screen. And yes, it isn’t as powerful as a laptop, but that didn’t really matter. It lets us surf the web, send emails, watch movies, play games & write documents, which turned out to be most of what the average person typically did with a laptop anyway. Though we still use computers at work, our home laptops have been collecting dust while we’ve been busy using our iPads (or other tablet).