The New Age is the age of New Addiction
Yoon’s discussion of a “thumb-tribe” in South Korea is fascinating and clearly, true. I don’t believe that the thumb-tribe is contained to South Korea, however. Our addiction to mobile devices is growing every moment. I just attended a lecture (on International Relations, unrelated--), and during the two-hour period, I checked my phone four times. Did it vibrate? No, I just was checking to see if I had anything. I know that I am guilty of it and many others in my generation are. We are growing every more addicted to our mobile devices, with Yoon’s article clearly articulating that South Korea is in the lead.
I want to bring up a device that exemplifies this and plays to our generation in an almost sickening way. A new phone has been released, known as the Microsoft “Kin,” and it is built purely for social networking. According to CNN, the phone has “a home screen that’s constantly updated with feeds from services like Facebook and Twitter.” The company openly states that it is geared towards teens and young twentysomethings who are obsessive about broadcasting their each and every move. Yoon blames the making of our techno-generation on Korea’s “post-colonial process of introducing new technologies.” Clearly, Korea is not the only one creating new and different ways to play to the youth’s addiction. Every technology company is looking for the next big thing that will catch on and be “cool” to our generation. They have easy success with such a vast culture of consuming present in our societies. To me, all of this sounds familiar—easy selling, youth targeting, and a figurative (or is it actual?) addiction. Is Microsoft the new Marlboro? Is Steve Jobs our new Mr. Camel? I know this is a stretch and a bit pessimistic, but the similarities are undeniable! Our youth is consuming these products at an uncanny rate, and it is just easy to keep making them- just like cigarettes.
In conclusion, if we don’t be careful with our new addictive products, we may be on our way to a society just like South Korea’s, a verifiable “thumb-army.”
Article on Kin:
And, look at the relationship between the Apple ad and the Cigarette ad (playing to the sexiness of the product):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbMt9ytjEmo (Winchester Cigarettes, 1969)