Un-like: Detoxing Our App-etites

It’s okay to be hooked on phonics, but not on our iPhones. But we are, by the same design that once made us trust the health assurance of cigarette smoking  and now incites us to hunt POcKEtMONsters or photograph our dinner on our plates or our dinner on our own faces for the world to see. Just say no!

Fellow sheeples, we are being assimilated into the hive-mind of web apps that know so very well how to push our buttons, or have us predictably and reliably push theirs. If Mr. Pavlov could see us now.

There is a science behind the compulsion to view your smartphone an average of 150 times a day. White rats of the world, resist!
Elman compares the tech industry to Big Tobacco before the link between cigarettes and cancer was established: keen to give customers more of what they want, yet simultaneously inflicting collateral damage on their lives.

Harris, Elman says, is offering Silicon Valley a chance to reevaluate before more-immersive technology, like virtual reality, pushes us beyond a point of no return.

I have not explored this topic as deeply as I hope I might (and I will if I  can only block out the beeping, flashing, ringing urgencies that are emitted from my front left pocket). Wouldn’t you suppose there is an entire sub-psych unit devoted just to creating the digital app itch among the very young, who are the very most hooked-on-digital?

So at this point, I only direct your attention to a couple of (click-click) web pages to read the TED-talk above (click-click) and if you or someone you know (like me) can’t seem to stop pressing the lever to get a pellet (a like, a comment, an email, a notification, a….) then perhaps you will want to dig further.

Personally, I’d like to find the middle of the divide where I don’t sacrifice all of the goods of information and knowledge and true communication made possible by our digital tools while pulling far away from the tyranny of pleasure-center stim from psycho-cookies 150 times a day that result in very little good and possibly very much spinning of wheels in the sands of precious time.

Addicted to Your iPhone? You’re Not Alone – The Atlantic

Design for Time Well Spent

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Sorry about the screw-up such that excerpts are not visible from the main fragments page AND the intended video is now apparently replaced by a hospital ad. I have not yet figured out how to fix either aggravation, but our technical team is working on it.

  2. All is working well now. I enjoyed the TED talk and the link summarizing it. Did not read the Atlantic. Knew it would be awfully depressing. While listening to the start of the TED talk, I was recalling how disruptive phones were in the family home before answering machines and voicemail. Just as little choice as our smartphones give us now. So, nothing new now if you had a very full life in the olden days.
    The ideas about creating different goals for our apps based on users’ values were excellent. We can hope that young users start demanding and silicon valley starts creating with these parameters in mind!