Why do so many people use the word 'consume' for technology?
May, 5 2023
The Evolution of the Word 'Consume'
In order to understand why so many people use the word 'consume' for technology, it's important to first delve into the evolution of the term itself. The word 'consume' originally referred to the act of ingesting or using up a resource, such as food or fuel. Over time, the meaning of the word expanded to include not only the physical act of consumption but also the mental and emotional processes that accompany our use of various products and experiences.
As technology advanced and became an increasingly important part of our lives, it's only natural that the word 'consume' would come to encompass our interactions with these new tools and devices. In this section, we'll explore the historical context of the word 'consume' and trace its journey from a term primarily associated with food and fuel to one that now encompasses our engagement with technology.
The Consumer Society
Central to the widespread use of 'consume' in relation to technology is the concept of the consumer society. As mass production and globalization led to an explosion of available products and services, individuals began to be defined not only by what they produced but also by what they consumed. The rise of advertising and marketing further reinforced the importance of consumption, as businesses sought to convince potential customers that their products and services were essential for a happy and fulfilling life.
In this context, it makes sense that the word 'consume' would come to be applied to technology as well. As we increasingly purchase and use devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, we've become part of a consumer society that values technology as a means of self-expression, entertainment, and personal fulfillment.
The Experience Economy
Another factor that has contributed to the use of the word 'consume' in relation to technology is the rise of the experience economy. In this economic model, companies focus on creating memorable experiences for their customers rather than simply selling products or services. This shift has led to an increased emphasis on the emotional and psychological aspects of consumption, as businesses seek to engage their customers on a deeper level and foster brand loyalty.
With technology playing an ever-larger role in our lives, it's no surprise that the experience economy has influenced the way we talk about our interactions with devices and platforms. When we 'consume' technology, we're not just using a product – we're participating in an experience that has been carefully designed to elicit certain emotions and responses.
Consumption as Identity
As our society has become more focused on consumption, our personal identities have become increasingly tied to the products and experiences we consume. This is particularly true when it comes to technology, which often serves as a status symbol and a means of self-expression. The smartphone you use, the apps you download, and the social media platforms you frequent all contribute to your identity as a consumer of technology.
The use of the word 'consume' in this context highlights the way in which technology has become an integral part of our lives, shaping our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us.
Consumption as a Form of Entertainment
One of the most significant reasons for the use of 'consume' in relation to technology is the fact that, for many people, using technology is a form of entertainment. From streaming movies and television shows to playing video games and browsing social media, technology offers countless opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation.
The term 'consume' reflects this reality, as it emphasizes the pleasurable aspects of our engagement with technology.
In today's fast-paced digital world, we're constantly bombarded by information from a variety of sources. This phenomenon, known as information overload, has led many people to become more selective about the content they consume in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
The use of the word 'consume' in relation to technology highlights the fact that we're not simply passive recipients of information – we're actively choosing what to engage with and what to ignore.
Technology as a Commodity
As technology has become more accessible and affordable, it has also become increasingly commoditized. In other words, devices and platforms that once seemed cutting-edge and revolutionary are now seen as ordinary and interchangeable. This trend has contributed to the use of 'consume' in relation to technology, as it underscores the notion that we're constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences to replace the ones that have become mundane.
The term 'consume' in this context serves as a reminder that technology, like any other product, is subject to the forces of supply and demand.
The Role of Social Media
Social media has played a major role in popularizing the use of the word 'consume' for technology. As we scroll through our feeds, we're constantly consuming content – whether it's articles, videos, or images – that has been specifically tailored to our interests and preferences.
The term 'consume' captures the essence of this phenomenon, as it reflects the fact that we're not just using technology to passively absorb information – we're actively engaging with the content we encounter and incorporating it into our personal narratives.
The Future of Consumption and Technology
As technology continues to evolve and shape our lives in new ways, it's likely that the way we talk about our engagement with devices and platforms will also change. While the word 'consume' may currently be the most popular term for describing our relationship with technology, it's possible that new words and phrases will emerge as we adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.
Ultimately, the language we use to talk about technology is a reflection of our broader cultural values and priorities – and as these shift over time, so too will the way we talk about our consumption of technology.