Thursday, 4 May 2017

Tech Baby

Exponential developments shrink our tech - the mainframe of the 1970s is given away free on the cover of a magazine and we carry supercomputers around in our pockets

Smartphones are not only general purpose supercomputers but general purpose gadgets - combining and for many replacing a dizzying number of different things

Telephone, computer, camera, music player, radio, books etc ... we've put all of these together behind a screen and shrunk it to fit in our pocket - your smartphone is the pinnacle of the screenage and its screaming for attention.

Email alerts, txt alerts, calendar notifications, Twitter notifications, Facebook updates, news alerts etc etc 24/7/365 your smartphone never sleeps and neither can you - your smartphone is a baby - it needs a lot of attention and it takes a lot of your attention -  "our constant digital stimulation may be contributing to an increasingly problematic deficit of attention in modern society.”

"I'm busy, I'm important"  ...notifications increase our feeling of self worth and we seek it ... smartphone alerts are dopamine cues for opioid pleasure - they are addictive but like most addictions they are exhausting and debilitating.

The cost of ubiquitous connectivity is lower productivity and psychological well- being ... the silver lining is that the problem can be turned off  “Importantly, we found that people can reduce the harmful effects of overstimulation by smartphones simply by keeping their phones on silent and out of easy reach whenever possible, thus keeping notifications at bay.”

Don't let your smartphone push you around ... switch from push to pull - take control and check your smartphone for updates when you want to check for updates ... check for emails when you want to do emails etc. Most things coming in on your phone are asynchronous ... they don't have to be dealt with in real time but can be responded to later  - only leave alerts on for those things that really need alerts e.g. as head of IT systems I only left the phone ringtone on ... if there was a real emergency someone would take the time to call and talk about it .. they wouldn't tweet or email :)

Image: Bryan Mathers 

Now that everyone is online ... being offline isn't just good for your state of mind but its also becoming cool. 

At the end of 2015 Ed Sheeran announced he is "taking a break" from social media as he is "seeing the world through a screen and not my eyes".

Its no co-incidence that the Nokia 3310 created such a stir at this years mobile world congress billed as "your digital detox phone ... a second device for smartphone-weary consumers" - its cheap, small and with a battery that lasts a month!

1 in 4 British consumers want to digital detox in 2016 - Information overload appears to be the driving force behind the trend- 40% said they were frustrated by the volume of updates that they see from old friends or acquaintances, while more than a quarter 28% are irritated by the constant stream of often irrelevant or annoying updates from brands.... research suggests that spending more time online doesn’t necessarily equate to a greater degree of happiness for many people. In fact, many of the people that we surveyed would rather hear a little less from friends and family online, in favour of spending more quality time together offline.’

The value of digital detox, the cool of techno retro and the Future of Technology in Education - we knew this back in 2013 ... see my photo of Lindsay Jordan with her feature phone at FOTE13 :) 

@lindsayjordan at #fote13  - techno retro & the new cool

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