The evolution of smart phones has brought with it both good and bad, depending on the side of the fence on which you stand. Gone are the days when information could simply be put across through various social means and forgotten in the pipeline of data and information exchange.
There is serious technology today. Smart phones continue to prove to be smarter than human beings, by portraying a more efficient photographic memory, unbeatable remembrance ability and an even wider speculation range. With the growing use of mobile devices has come the ability to capture phone front views and to record active conversations, even worse to share the same with a much larger group of people all at once. Screen Shots, Voice notes, Group chats and phone recorders are arguably on almost every phone and messenger these days.
While these are convenient, it means one keeps track of the conversation and have tangible material to fall back on. They also pose a necessary conscious on what, and what not to freely share when chatting over the waves. It is, as such, critical to understand the ploys and at times implications of the advancements.
One would allude that this technology was most likely developed for a greater good. That said, screen shots have successfully led to the termination of relationships, ending of long time friendships and even some of the most scandalous public relations moments. The technology is so widely used that it is actually built up in some mobile devices leaving users with very little option. The use of screen shots is acceptable as evidence even in a court of law.
Some public figures have acted out of anger in recent times and posted comments that may be considered as offensive by one group or another in society. Normally, it would be easy to do a damage control such a situation by simply deleting the comments posted. This is not quite the case today. Upon seeing something interesting, invigorating or potentially scandalous, it is almost instinctive for one to take that up and use it to show others. This makes a denial method of cleaning up rather quite difficult as an approach.
It has even become very complicated for young men with high testosterone levels to advance their demands knowing that someone on the other end may simply be collecting data for your analysis during their group discussions. A sneak peek into one or two ‘ladies only’ WhatsApp groups will show you through their media history how the decision to date you was not a solo mission. Benjamin Ngesheya says “It has made it very easy for girls to advise their friends on whether or not to accept a guy’s proposal as Screen Shots give them access to the entire conversation and even a contribution on responses to serious and tactical questions.” They have also, however, worked to the disadvantage of some enthusiasts who try to penetrate a circle of friends. He says, “While you think you are talking to one person, it’s a whole SWAT team doing negotiations.”
Phone Call Recorders
One would easily guess that technology was developed specifically for journalists to help them to quote correctly from their sources. This technology seems to largely support the growing numbers of citizen journalists who take it upon themselves to investigate anything and anyone by asking them a range of leading questions and recording them.
The normal thing is phone calls are a means to avoid leaving any form of trail of having made communication. A received call log in itself could not be brought up sufficiently to back what the content of the conversation was. However, once again, the technological twist that has come up with mobile applications also facilitates the ability to record a phone call as it goes on. This particular advancement has proven to bring large risks to the most basic use of a mobile device. One concerned user said “People these days have to continuously watch every word they say, as the person you are communicating to may just have the red light on you.”
Many people have fallen prey to this practice seeing as you cannot tell whether the listener is using a recording application, or even if their gadget is able to record. It largely poses difficulties in the use of phone calls to transmit sensitive information that cannot be passed on to a third party.
Most messaging applications that have evolved including the BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp are fitted with recorded sounds sending features. While the normal messaging system enabled this, the charges that came with sending a Multi-Media Message were usually largely a deterrent to using the service. But with the coming of these various messengers, people are able to send voice notes as a preferable option to typing a text. Whether or not this is better in itself is questionable but most people are very active in its use.
Selma Thomas says “The advantage of using a voice note is that instead of simply seeing the acronym ‘LOL’, you get to actually here the persons reaction in their voice.” A number of people have admitted to rarely having had actually reacted in the way that they usually express themselves in the emoji’s or words of messages. “Like seriously though, how many of us really ‘Roll on the floor laughing’?” Thomas asked.
Group chats have facilitated some people to even hold meetings on messaging applications. From a time it would be almost impossible to digitally bring a group of more than 3 people onto a synchronised platform while geographically separated; to days when corporate debates have taken place over a social network, the change is significant. Most public events have proven generally difficult to organise in the absence of a social platform that allow the sharing of new developments and useful contributions.
Some of the risks of being in a group chat include exposing your information to the public. In the event that you are in a generally open group with people from various walks of life, it is easier for a third party to access your information, from your name, to contact details and even image.
Most of us generally ignore the seriousness of such social exposure but it is worryingly threatening. It is best to only be a party to groups that are relevant and useful to you. If the objective of a group has been achieved, leave the group.