Cell Phones, Engagement, & Disconnection

My cell phone runs out of juice all the time, and I don’t realize it until those moments when I need to call/text someone or when I need to hit up Google Authenticator for 2fa. When I’m out and about, I use it as a computer mostly for things like looking up something that came up in conversation that we can’t quite remember. I don’t have notifications set for all the sites and email accounts and slack channels and stuff that bombard me when I am on my laptop. I usually feel (because of the things people in the tech community say to me when they see me so blasé about mobile availability and my resistance to enabling all the push notifications) like a lone wolf luddite in a forest of cell-addicted people. When friends or colleagues constantly break eye contact to check their phones sitting on the tables in front of them I think it is super rude (though I also think it is an actual addiction and they don’t do it any more consciously than someone else might bite their nails). So I really loved this article today. I’m not a lone wolf luddite! :)

Go ahead and write off 20 percent of your day. You’re going to spend it gazing into your phone.

Even when we’re not actually using our phones, they still distract. A recent study found that performance on basic tests of attention gets worse if a cellphone is merely visible nearby.

“Engagement” is a common business goal for the design of so many websites, apps, and services. We lure people in and try to figure out how to get them to stay. We tell ourselves that our goal is to “delight” users, but I think we’ve lost the thread of what the word actually means. We seem to think it means keeping people distracted and busy. When you say “engagement,” I now hear “theft of attention.”

Read the full article: Connected // Disconnected.

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