It seems like every other advert you see on TV now includes a line that says 'visit us on FaceBook or Twitter' and more and more of them are also saying 'download our app for iPad or Android!'
The trouble is, some of them are, to be brutally honest, just plain stupid. I watch them and say to myself, 'now why on earth would I want to clutter up my valuable smartphone memory with an app from a car company? Or a pizza place? Or an insurance company?'
I know that many people are in love with their cars and some people are downright fanatic about their loyalty to a particular car company so maybe an app for them is just what they've been waiting for. Personally, I don't really care what any car company is up to. At least not enough to download an app.
And I like pizza as much as the next person but tracking my pizza through assembly, to the oven, to the box, to the delivery driver doesn't sound like my idea of fun. "Hey look kids! They're about to put on the pepperoni!" (I also wonder how much time is wasted updating the information. Is there some kid somewhere rushing to his terminal every two seconds to type in 'I have just deployed the mushrooms on order number 60147.' Then rushing back to the line as the next kid rushes to the terminal to type 'I have just sprinkled the cheese on order number 60147.'?) Now finding out that the part I ordered a week ago is still sitting on a loading dock somewhere isn't much fun either, but at least its marginally useful information. I can at least ask for a refund on that extra £6 I paid for overnight delivery.
But are there really people out there who are fanatic about their insurance company? Do they really want daily updates on deductibles, rates, and flood insurance premiums? Personally, the less I have to deal with my insurance company the better. I didn't want to deal with them when I signed up for insurance in the first place, I don't want to deal with them when I pay my premiums every month, and I certainly hope I never have to deal with them because my house burned down or my car was stolen.
So no, I don't want to visit them on Facebook to see photos of the last company picnic, no, I don't care what their Junior Assistant Marketing manager is Tweeting today, and no, I don't want an insurance company app on my phone.
It seems to me that there are a lot of companies out there who have convinced themselves (or been convinced by their marketing department or sales department or advertising agency) that they NEED a Facebook page, and they NEED to Tweet, and they NEED a smartphone app. Doesn't matter who they are or what they are selling or whether or not it makes any sense, they all NEED to do these things.
I'm sure that in corporate headquarters' meeting rooms across the country there are marketing managers saying, 'Yes, I know that sales are down, but if we only had an app I'm sure we could turn things around in no time.' And edicts are being passed down, 'Get cracking on an app! We need an app!'
It must be driving IT managers and programming teams nuts. 'We're trying to get the latest inventory control system up and running, the server is being choked with videos of dancing hamsters (that happen to contain a virus), the latest security audit reports say that there were 6,394 hacker attacks on the system in the last week alone, and now management wants us to drop everything and develop a smartphone app?!? We make socks, for Kark's sake! Why would anyone need an app for socks?'
Pretty soon there will be apps for trash can liners, pet food dispensers, insect repellent, wart removers, peel-and-stick bathtub hooks, processed cheese food spread, microwave oven deodorizers, tyre pressure gauges, staplers, and tile grout.
It's no wonder that one of the most valuable apps on my smartphone is an app killer.