Abstracts in this Pattern:
Tristan Harris is the cofounder of Time Well Spent (San Francisco, California)—a group that advocates for "a market of media & apps designed with people's best interests in mind" (www.timewellspent.io)—and he believes that companies in Silicon Valley, California, are trying to addict people to using technology. He claims the app-based economy prizes users' attention more than anything else, which results in "a race to the bottom of the brain stem."
Similarly, Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating author Moira Weigel believes that the main focus of dating apps is to keep users engaged with the apps rather than to spawn successful relationships. Journalist Julie Beck theorizes that many people are beginning to experience dating-app fatigue and giving up on dating apps as a result. Beck reports numerous anecdotes from dating-app users who believe that although such apps were initially interesting, they have made finding a relationship no easier. Many users may be turning to more traditional methods of forming relationships. Addictive tactics in use by other types of software may also deliver the opposite of users' desired effect. Developers must remember that if users are not satisfied with a product, they might abandon it.
Some consumer segments may be turning away from digital solutions not because the technology is ineffective but because analog alternatives are more viscerally engaging. For example, despite the ubiquity of MP3 downloads and music-streaming services, many consumers have developed a preference for listening to music on vinyl records. Indeed, start-up Qrates (Tokyo Digital Music Syndicates; Tokyo, Japan) has begun offering a service in which it prints vinyl versions of online tracks when it receives a significant number of consumer requests. Old-fashioned versions of modern digital applications seem to appeal to young people and Millennials in particular. The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter author David Sax suggests that the more exposure to digital technology a generation has, the less enchanted by that technology people in that generation are. Sax highlights that many modern teenagers and people in their twenties are buying film cameras, paperback novels, and record players.
Thus far, mainly anecdotes and opinion pieces point to a potential change in consumer attitudes; however, such rejections of digital technologies could establish valuable market niches and even threaten the success of certain applications.
The Development of this Pattern
Tristan Harris is the cofounder of Time Well Spent, and he believes that companies in Silicon Valley, California, are trying to addict people to using technology.
Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating author Moira Weigel believes that the main focus of dating apps is to keep users engaged with the apps rather than to spawn successful relationships.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter author David Sax suggests that the more exposure to digital technology a generation has, the less enchanted by that technology people in that generation are.
The Allure of Analog
Some market segments are beginning to view digital technologies with skepticism.
- SoC468 — Data-Addiction Disorder (October 2010)
Excessive electronic media consumption has links with negative interferences in daily life, including deteriorating relationships and diminishing contemplative and creative thinking.
- P0208 — The Price of Connectivity (June 2011)
Increased technology-based connectivity potentially comes with a loss of deep, personal interactions.
- P0270 — Silence Is Golden (November 2011)
Legislation regulates wireless connectivity in some environments—for example, in cars and hospitals—but increasingly other considerations are also favoring cold spots, areas without information connectivity.
- P0408 — Luddites and Vigilantes (October 2012)
Advances in surveillance and communication technologies not only lead to backlash from some segments in society but also could spark violent activism.
- SoC651 — Digital Detoxification (May 2013)
Although smartphones have many benefits, some people find the constant accessibility that these gadgets enable a nuisance. Is this permanent state of connection to the digital world harmful to individuals and perhaps to society?
- SoC659 — Digital Life and Digital Sabbath (June 2013)
For the last 20 years, technologists, scientists, and media scholars have argued about whether information technology is changing people's mental habits, cognitive abilities, and brains. Until recently, dividing these commentators into two groups was possible.
- SoC663 — Fighting Digital Distraction (July 2013)
A growing number of people and organizations are beginning to see digital distraction as a problem.
- P0618 — Digital Cold Spots (April 2014)
Business opportunities exist to help people disconnect from information technology for safety, interpersonal, and lifestyle reasons.
- P0733 — Distraction Addiction (February 2015)
Problems can arise when mobile technologies distract users. New research investigates this phenomenon.
- SoC898 — Minimalism and Consumer Selectivity (October 2016)
People are increasingly choosing to practice minimalism, and their motivations for doing so are diverse.