Have you noticed that the line between real life and the digital has become decidedly more blurred during 2014? It definitely has in my life – and I’m only really realising this now, sitting down to write this article.

I’m not just talking about how most things can be done online these days – nope, I’m talking about going about my every day actions, and instead of them staying IRL (In the Real World), they are being constantly peppered with an extra digital layer.

Zapper

I’m pretty sure that you’ve probably heard of Zapper by now? It’s a very handy QR scanning app that will read a QR code on your till slip, and then allows you to pay from your smartphone. No more waiting for card machines, busy waitresses, change, or anything like that.

That’s the main use for Zapper that I’ve come into contact with, but essentially it can be used by businesses for a multitude of purposes – getting potential clients to their website, as a form of entry to a competition etc.

I first came into contact with the Zapper app at the end of last year, and it was at one restaurant in my area and that was it. It seemed totally revolutionary to me! But it took a few months since to see it more frequently.

Now it seems to have gained popularity in my area (which means that Joburg and Cape Town locals are probably well-versed in its uses by now), and I recently read that Wimpy has gone one step further with the app, and used it to keep kids entertained while the rest of the family eats.

Speaking of payments…

When was the last time you went into a bank? Or, for that matter, even visited an ATM? Virtual payments have become so easy that it almost feels strange to need cash.

I visit craft markets often, and only one out of ten times do I remember to go and take out cash before getting there. That’s purely because I never need cash in any other transaction – you can even add on tips to your card payment at most places. It’s reached the point where I fully expect even the hippies to have gone digital and for me to be able to pay for that tie-dyed top with a card…it’s not just me right?

Death to handwriting

Having good handwriting used to be so important – it was one of the main forms of communicating ideas to others. I for one am very glad that I don’t have to rely on physically writing out my ideas, or I never would have become a writer. Think about it for a minute – when was the last time you had to write more than a grocery list or a simple sentence out with paper and pen?

Most people don’t even write out grocery lists anymore, there’s definitely an app for that. It’s a very interesting by-product of us entering a more and more digital realm, that something as fundamental as learning to write by hand could go out of fashion. It may not be in our immediate future, but with technology being integrated into schools earlier and earlier each year, we could easily reach the point where children are taught how to type from the start, rather than learning how to write in Nelson or Cursive.

It’s as exciting as it is subtle. Some advances make a big entrance and we quickly realise we’re in the next stage of technology, but it’s only when you stop to think that you realise just how digital we’ve become.