App-Happy: Can Technology Really Bring Us The Joy We All Crave?

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An app for this, an app for that... but at the end of the day, can technology rival a hug?By Jessica Barone (Development & Marketing Manager, Reach 150 Inc)

A few weeks back, TechCrunch asked the general unassuming public in a Facebook status, “If you made your own app, what would it do?”

Most people responded snidely, a few answered thoughtfully, but one person simply responded: “Make me happy.”

And I stopped and thought, “Huh. There sure ain't an app for that.”

We have games, global weather, news, navigation, social networks; we can track how long our evening jog was; we have entire encyclopedias of information at our fingertips - all things we use on a daily basis. All for the purpose of helping us get from point A to point B, and keeping us occupied in the time between.

Enter the term Newphoria and see what appears. Some people will argue that there is genuine happiness tied to getting the latest and greatest gadget. But come on, the shininess of your new MacBook Air doesn't make you truly happy, don't be a jackass. True happiness isn't the product of , well, products. Happiness is enjoying inner contentment whilst simultaneously embracing the world around you. Each person finds that happiness in a different way, but it’s never sullied by material possessions or synthetic communication.

Having an app to check Facebook and see that someone shared a link on your timeline doesn't compare to seeing your best friend in person. Having your favorite song come up on Pandora doesn't make you happy in the way that seeing that musician play live could. And having “face time” with the person you love on a little screen doesn't come close to holding him or her in your arms. Smart phone apps are a ghost of the things that make you happy. They keep you satiated in between real, happy experiences. There's no such thing as a Happy-app.“Makes people happy" isn't a genre of apps you can scroll through among the categories in the App Store. You can’t beat real time human interaction.

I'm absolutely guilty of spending too much time and effort on my phone: tweeting, pinning, updating (aka constantly checking) Facebook, and Insta-spamming my followers with pics of fitness progress. “Social Media Jedi” is pasted across the top of my résumé, and WIRED magazines clutter my backpack. I dig technology, but you’ll never, ever get me to think that tech can make me truly happy.

Women 2.0 readers: Do you think technology now rivals human interaction when it comes to making people happy?

About the guest blogger: Jessica Barone is Development and Marketing Manager at Reach 150. She also happens to bs a San Franciscan scribbler of fiction and a journalist of tech and health 'n' fitness. She's a serial Silicon Valley Tech Startup girl and social media Jedi - but considers the woods and seas to be the ideal office space. Follow her @chai_haiku. This post originally appeared on medium.com. Photo credit: Incase via Flickr