Are you addicted to your smartphone?
It’s a bizarre question but one that describes a scenario that is becoming more and more common, but as yet, remains relatively undiagnosed. Since the 1st iPhone debuted in June 2007, just over 10 years ago, our ability to access the internet has accelerated and the proliferation of apps and tools that run on these devices has exploded. Fast forward to 2018 and we now live in a very “connected” era. We have access to dozens of social media tools and platforms, we stream tv, movies, and music like never before, we pay for very little and can access the web at a fraction of the previous costs. With faster internet speed has come a faster pace of life and with that comes increased stress, distraction and the elimination of our ability to wait and be patient. We want it all and we want it now!
Or do we?
On a personal level, I have witnessed my own interest in social media, Facebook, Snapchat, Linkedin and even WhatsApp more recently, really taking a nosedive as I became more aware of not only my own habitual use of these apps but of the value they bring into my life. At this point, I have concluded that most of the activities I habitually do on my smartphone – scrolling, swiping, liking, searching – are not only a huge drain on my time and attention but they are utterly pointless and bring me little or no value whatsoever.
I have written about the arms race for your attention before (Today’s New Currency: Your Attention) and as a software product manager myself, I am all too aware of the pressures that exist in software companies today to remain relevant in a constantly evolving and highly competitive product landscape.
So with this new awareness, I began to research if there were other people feeling the same way – disenfranchised, disengaged and disillusioned with what the smartphone has become. This search has led me to a very interesting new product called light. It is a very basic phone that is designed very deliberately to be used less. It allows you to move away from your smartphone but still have some basic useful tools – like the ability to call friends, text people, get some basic directions, play music, set an alarm – tools, not feeds of useless information from people that you barely know anymore. Judging by the success of their current crowdfunding campaign, the wave of people that are turning their back on their smartphone and adopting a more deliberate device that actually helps them is growing.
I believe my own smartphone usage has come to a head. I am at the point now where I can live without it. I want to live more deliberately and consciously and these devices simply do not allow me to do that. They have ceased to be of real value to me.
Now the challenge remains what to replace it with and from looking at light, this might just be the perfect fit.
Yours in health and happiness,