Before asking how many apps you have on your phone, I decided to answer it for myself. My total is 152. Shopping, banking, reading, listening to books and music, boarding airplanes, taking pictures, reading email, catching up on sports scores, communicating with other people, opening and closing my garage door, watching movies, starting my car, giving me directions and even ordering food from Chick-fil-A — it’s all there in one place.
When my son William got his first iPhone, he was thrilled to finally have his own. For virtually his entire life, everyone around him has been holding a small piece of plastic and metal whose light-up screen transfixes us on a seemingly constant basis. So, it made sense that he felt honored to have joined the club. I enjoyed watching him explore the device, swiping and touching and taking photos of his own. Suddenly, he came running to me. In an excited tone he said to me, “Dad, can you believe it? It even has an app called ‘Phone’!”
Will’s epiphany about the ability to make a phone call aside, 152 apps represent a lot of different ways to use the little handheld computer that we, perhaps only affectionately, call a phone. And did I mention that I recently changed my phone? I used to have even more applications. It is no wonder people panic if their devices go missing!
I recently heard a speaker give a presentation on the impacts that personal computing has had on the economy. While I won’t bore you with the financial data (it was in the trillions of dollars per year) or number of users involved (it was in the billions of people), the presenter showed an image that stuck with me. On one side of the giant screen in the meeting room were several plain images, including a 35 mm camera, cassette recorder, paper atlas, car-mounted GPS, record player, corded telephone like the one that probably hung in your parents’ or grandparents’ kitchen, measuring tape, credit card, newspaper, chatty person whispering in another person’s ear, typewriter, mailbox, taxicab and even a doctor.
On the right of the screen was a picture of an iPhone. And nothing else.
It was an amazing visual demonstration of how these electronic devices have changed our culture and the way we live our lives from day to day. So, as the commercial goes, what’s in your wallet? Or, should I say, what’s in your phone?
I’m happy to say that one out of the 152 apps on my phone is the Tennessee General Assembly app. For more than 10 years now, the electric cooperatives of Tennessee have published this helpful tool that gives you an easy way to get in contact with your elected officials in Washington, D.C., and Nashville. The app includes helpful features like district maps, email addresses, committee memberships, links to social media accounts and websites, and more.
Just go to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, search for “Tennessee General Assembly” and download the app. It’s free. Oh, there is one other feature the app does really well. Just tap on any phone number you see, and it will even make a phone call!