We live in an always on world; one where it’s almost more common to see someone on the street peering down at the device in their hands rather than looking up at where they are going. They all have headphones on and don’t even make eye contact any more. I know I am guilty of this and it’s pretty pathetic if you actually think about it. Sometimes I like to look people straight in the eyes just to see what they do. No one even talks anymore. It’s crazy.
I have also noticed a strange feeling creep into my life – subtle emptiness and the feeling of missing out on things going on around me. How do I know all these things are going on? Social media of course. Flip through Twitter or Facebook for only a few seconds and you’ll notice people checking-in, raving about the fun they are having at the ball game or what they just ate. It’s overkill!
I also have this nagging urge to grab my phone and check to see if anyone has texted me in the last few minutes. “Maybe I’ll swipe the phone open and check my email… I am sure I have a new email I just need to get to.”
I am sure it’s not just me and I bet more people than want to admit feel the same way I do. I also think it’s going to get much worse. How much worse? Who knows, but I think society is going through such a drastic transformation right in front of our eyes we don’t even know what has hit us.
The infographic below describes our life today, our life of immediacy. We have little patience for anything that takes more than a few seconds. (why do you think I named my company Seconds? Genius eh?) We click away from any pages that don’t load after a few seconds. We can’t stand it if it takes too long to be served food. Wait on hold??? No way!!
I can’t imagine what this has done to our psyche but it cannot be good. I am sure we won’t really understand the negative effects or the changes in neural functioning for a while but it just doesn’t feel right. Yet, there is something stimulating about it. The rush of something new, someone reaching out to me to chat or do business is always a good feeling. This is dopamine talking and if I am not mistaken that is how we get in trouble with highly addictive drugs.
What are your thoughts?
This will become a more widespread and apparent problem.
In natural response to this is a category of apps that prevent the use of someone’s device for non productive purposes. Stayfocusd, the Chrome browser extension, is at the forefront of this – this prevents me from being on non-productive sites (Facebook for me) at all or for a set amount of time.
I would expect this to quickly spread into the mobile arena. As more and more people become addicted to their connected devices, app stores will be the first place they turn to for solutions.