Anymore technology is accused of giving people a fake reality where they can avoid any sort of real-life physical interactions. But sometimes technology creates a more convenient way for people to interact with their worlds. The relatively new SmartPhone app Uber is a way for people in need of a cab to connect to a driver who is near them. The driver can easily pick up the app users based on their GPS location and transport them accordingly (Yglesias 2011).
Recently the company has gained a lot of buzz from millennials because of positive reviews through word of mouth as well as opening in more cities. I’ve never used the app personally but a few of my friends rave about it. When they signed up they were given special offer codes to give to friends that gave each of them a twenty dollar credit on the app. Once they both actually used some of their credit (they split a cab ride to downtown) they earned ten more dollars in credit. They tell everyone they come across that they actually made money through taking a cab. At first this confused me because I have no idea how the cab driver is making money, but I do know this an excellent PR move.
Everyone knows that word-of-mouth is the most trusted form of advertising and companies are constantly trying to get people to physically talk about their product or service. Uber has achieved this. It’s constantly mentioned in twitter including celebrities who aren’t getting any compensation from the company.
Dear Uber Drivers- you’d have to kick my mother in the nuts for me to give you less than 5 stars. You’ve picked up the right people pleaser!
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) January 30, 2014
The company did nothing extra to warrant this response didn’t ask for this attention, but it was displayed on all 1.4 million twitter feeds of users who follower Dunham. This company is an excellent example where someone has used technology in an attempt to streamline a preexisting system and give convenience to the user.
Yglesias, M. (2011, December 15). When is a taxi not a taxi?.Slate. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technocracy/2011/12/uber_car_service_exposing_the_idiocy_of_american_city_taxi_regulations_.html
Streitfeld, D. (2014, January 26). Rough patch for uber service’s challenge to taxis. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/technology/rough-patch-for-uber-services-challenge-to-taxis.html?_r=0