T hank You We at Spotlight on Business Magazine would like to thank all essential workers for the difficult job they do every day, especially during this pandemic. We thank you for putting your lives on the line to make sure that our store shelves are full,
BREAKING OUR DIGITAL ADDICTION by Calli Gregg T CHNOLOGY OVERLOAD
I f you are like me and millions of people each year that make the attempt to spend less time on their electronic devices and in front of screens so, why do so many of us fail? Well, if you are like most of us, you have never been able to reduce the amount of time that you spend in front of a screen, whether it is your phone, tablet, computer or TV. I blame part of it on the fact that my job is to be a profession- al Googler, the other reason is, I like the vast majority of our other readers, am addicted to it. I do not like to use the word addicted, but in this case, I feel that is the word that best describes the behavior. And while we try to take control of our tech habits, technology companies are fighting over who gets more of our screen time and user attention. But, unlike us, they have highly effec- tive systems in place to achieve their goal. Technology companies consciously and uncon- sciously exploit our behaviours and weakness- es to get us to spend more time using their products and services. In doing so they have more opportunities to selling their products or those of other companies to you, which is how they make money. How do they achieve this? Well, it is through various calculated design decisions which control the menu of options we as users can select. There have been many examples by social medial plat- forms both big and small that revealed examples of manipulation tactics used by the designers. One such example was with Facebook’s notifi - cation icon, you know the one that lets you, the user, know of any “likes,” friend requests, and any other activity on your account. Did you know that it was originally meant to be blue? Which is the signature color of Facebook, but no one used it, so the company quickly changed it to
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red, a known trigger color, and the company immediately saw a spike in user engagement on the platform. So why did this spike engagement? Well users have the need to make the red notifi - cation badge go away and feel driven to open or like even the selection to make it go away even if they’re not interested in the content. So, what can we as users do about it? Well in my opinion we need to save ourselves, yes just as big tech has designed their apps around grabbing as much of our attention as possible, they can also design apps around truly serving the user’s needs and helping us better utilize our screen time. However, I personally think it is a decision that we have to make and manage on our own. Google, Apple, Facebook and YouTube have all implemented features to help users curb their phone and app addictions by taking a more ethical approach to the user experience, but we can’t rely solely on technology to bring us back to ourselves as users in the end will have to make the final choice to limit usage.
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • FEBRUARY 2021
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