Is it just me, or…

…is technology turning some of us into whining little brats?

This tirade was triggered by an item in today’s Shelf Awareness, a daily newsletter of publishing and bookselling news. This one small paragraph announces a new iPhone app called ShelfLook described this way by the iTunes store:

“Do you hate turning your neck sideways to read book titles at libraries and bookstores? Or scrunching down as well to view lower shelves? With SHELFLOOK, those days are over!

Oh, my, how awful for us! We have to turn our delicate necks. We have to bend down. We have to stretch upward. We might even (gasp!) have to reach out, pick up a book, and actually hold it in our hands long enough to see the cover or scan a page or two. No more. This app will allow you to hold up your phone and turn it sideways so you can read the book spines without the slightest effort.

Now I’m not saying this might not be a great boon for people who cannot make these moves. I’m saying that for the majority of us this is plain silly. Just because they can create an app doesn’t mean they should!

Rant ended. Feel free to return to texting and tweeting and social media-ing. But don’t forget to look up now and then to appreciate the sun, the earth, and the people you love.

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2 thoughts on “Is it just me, or…

  1. Hello Peg, my name is David from Azymous Interactive, and I’m the author of ShelfLook. I enjoyed reading your comments, even though we may disagree on a few things. I thought you might like to know a little bit about why I created ShelfLook, as you commented that “just because they can create an app doesn’t mean they should!” Originally the idea for ShelfLook came about because I was book shopping with my family (which we love to do!) and was suffering from a pinched nerve in my neck. Tilting my head to look at the book titles was literally a pain in the neck! I discussed the idea with family, friends, staff, and patrons at our local libraries. It turns out there are a lot of elderly, injured, disabled, or otherwise physically challenged folks who could benefit from the app. People with bad backs, including my father, were simply not even looking at lower shelves anymore. In short, there was a very positive motivation for creating ShelfLook. In our beta testing, we found that lots of people really enjoyed the app, including those with no physical challenges at all. Most people’s reaction was that the ShelfLook was “cool”, “fun”, “useful”, or “great idea”. All the best, David

    • Hi David, and thanks for coming by to explain the background of ShelfLook. As I said in my post, I have no doubt that this app can be a boon to people who cannot make those moves, and I’m sure that those who are physically challenged will find it very useful – heck, I’ve had my share of back spasms over the years. And there’s nothing wrong with yet another “cool” app, either. My point was and is that we are inundated with technological “solutions” that don’t always have “problems” to solve…except for those problems we are encouraged to think we have so they can be solved! I’m old enough to remember commercials that tried to make “ring around the collar” the equivalent of a social disease so that people would buy their detergent. The iTunes advertising copy for ShelfLook had that same tone – pointing out a problem you didn’t realize you had but would recognize, and then buy the solution. (Maybe that’s Advertising 101 but it’s insulting and it rankles.)

      Congratulations on creating ShelfLook – I really do love to see creativity and entrepreneurship at work and sincerely hope it’s successful for you.

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