Now that software has eaten the world, we are left with figuring out the consequences of that takeover. We must figure out if anything important has been left behind in the transition. Let’s start by zoning in on that transition.
The increase in phones and the amount of experiences that are now digital make for a new reality.
That’s OK because we’re just being more and more productive with our digital tools right? We’re using technology to enhance our productivity and our efficiency right? Wrong.
We’re mostly using it to have fun with a new passtime: infinite scrolling. Infinite scrolling on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook is now an activity. Take a look at the data:
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a good time. We’re all fans of that. Can there be too much of a good time? Can we gorge on instant pleasure & gratification or does this lead to some downsides? There are a few questions that have to be answered for us to understand the consequences of this environment.
1. Are we choosing to spend most of that time the way we are? Or is it more like a single notification sucks you in for a 30 minute session? Are these apps overstaying their welcome in our lives? Why are we all hooked to these apps?
2. What is the consequence of having a good time all the time in the digital world? Where does that leave what I’ll call growth friction. That is the inherent difficulty in building any improvement in skill or ability. For example, if I want to get better at using my bad foot at soccer. I’ll need to suck for awhile and keep getting negative feedback that I’m not as good as I am with my good foot. I have to go through growth friction, an experience that is full of friction and mentally difficult, to improve. That’s opposite to what all these digital apps propose. What does that mean for us that this experience is being deleted from our menu?
3. There is also a problem when our brains get re-wired, without our consent, to respond to very different stimuli. Our real relationships don’t come with notifications. We don’t get notified when a friend is lonely and would appreciate some company. We also get rewarded along the way for just about everything, unlike the rest of life.
4. Since all the business models of these apps are ad-based, they are trying to keep your attention for an infinite amount of time. The best use case they have is that you infinitely scroll for the entire day. That is not in your best interest as a human, but it is certainly the path of least resistance and greatest pleasure. Does it have to be like that?
Can we make tech that helps us become better. Yes.
Can we make digital addiction that helps you grow. Yes, we have to.
Stay tuned and we’ll show you what we mean…