Are We Turning Into ‘App Potatoes?’

We’ve all been there. You punch something into Google, like “Who is the muffin man?” and sure, you may find your answer there, but you’ll also end up lost in something entirely unrelated: muffin recipes, bakeries that have fresh-baked muffins, or a review of all the breakfast places in town. Although most of us have adapted to this internet of open exploration, could our dependence and fascination with apps make the wide open terrain of the current internet a thing of the past?

Possibly, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. In this study, which surveyed over 1,000 experts, the majority believed the boom in apps for smartphones could instigate an “anti-internet,” where some people exclusively use apps in order to keep their surfing within their chosen content limits instead of the wide world of the current web. Experts said they didn’t see the internet becoming obsolete, but becoming part of a digital divide, where people essentially choose the app team or the internet team.

Of this app team, Giacomo Mazzone, the head of institutional relations at the European Broadcasting Union, concisely stated, “Instead of couch potatoes, you’ll have app potatoes.”

We have nothing against apps, of course. After all, we’ve put a lot of energy into making ours the best it can be. Apps are a convenient way to get the exact information you want/need, without pushing through the weeds, which at times is a perfect solution…but what if you don’t always want to bypass the weeds? What if, instead of finding out who the Muffin Man is, you actually could find some valuable recipes from your search? (I like baking, so this metaphor works for me. Make your own as you see fit.)

Venture capitalist Richard Titus, expert surveyed, said, “Apps’ ability to meet specific needs becomes a double-edged sword; they  simplify life and create ’walled gardens’ and a lack of serendipity.”

What’s your take? Are you becoming an ‘App Potato’ or do you use the internet as much as your smartphone?