No. 4: H2NO

Nowadays it feels like there is an app for everything. At times, it can feel like an information overload where my phone’s home screen is packed with icons of apps I do not even use. It’s a vicious cycle, I delete Words with Friends only to replace it with Golf Clash. There is a never-ending flow of apps and services that are marketed as something I need to download immediately.

Something I never expected, however, was an app to refill my water bottle. Reefill connects you to one of their nearest water bottle fill stations, which are currently available at different locations around New York City. The most interesting element of the app though is what happens when you reach the water station. You are presented with two options–fill your bottle with free tap water or pay a fee through the app for filtered water.

The reaction to the app on Twitter was decidedly negative. BuzzFeed reports that the app’s founders were surprised by the internet’s reaction, expecting to see support for what they believe is an eco-friendly substitution for bottled water bottles.

The problem I have with this app is two-fold. The first is that by placing the filtered water which costs about $2 next to the free tap water, they are making it seem as though the unfiltered water is somehow unhealthy or not as good. This is of course not true and many Americans everyday, myself included drink tap water. My other issue comes from the monetization of something that does not need to be further monetized.

An even larger issue arises for me, however, of  where will the appification of daily life end? Understandably, people’s everyday experiences are becoming increasingly interwoven with technology, however, there has to eventually be a breaking point. Personally, this represents that point. I begin to fell uncomfortable by an inescapable digital presence when it is going after a life necessity. Why does water need to be an app and in the future potentially a form of social media with its tracking feature? Apps like these make technology and the influence of apps feel almost omnipresent with the line between reality and digital increasingly blurred.