Written on December 27, 2011 Leave a Comment |
You likely have a mobile phone. That’s a screen. Perhaps a pad or tablet computer. That’s also a screen.
You might also have a laptop or a desktop computer. Those are screens.
Televisions, movie players, game stations and consoles. Screens.
Each of the screens are updating us, notifying us, giving us information – 99.9 percent of which our brain just classifies as “trivial” and doesn’t even bother to commit it to short term memory. We forget most of what we’re told by our screens within seconds.
We have to. If we tried to make sense of the deluge of data – digest it, organize it, store it – we’d burn out quickly on this stuff. We’re not computers. We can’t efficiently deal with so much data, so we have to quickly (subconsciously) evaluate it for relevance and quickly forget about it.
I think 2012 might be a tipping-point. An inflection where the consumer (and companies) make a conscious choice to start turning some of their screens off. I think we’ll start seeing consumers make more conscious decisions about what updates they receive, what social networks they join, what games they play, and start leveraging filters to a greater extent to control the data flow.
But it won’t just be consumers. In a great example, Volkswagon is giving its employees a break from email after hours. They realize that their employees can’t be (shouldn’t be) plugged-in and working all the time. Employees don’t want that, either.
Am I predicting a Luddite-like wholesale rejection of technology in our modern lives? No, not really. What I am saying is that processor, memory, bandwidth, and coverage on mobile devices has become so powerful and ubiquitous and cheap that constant data flow to consumers is economically and technically possible, but not all-together desirable … at least by consumers. Consumers are going to make choices. I’m betting they’re going to make choices that strengthen their privacy and reduce their need to process irrelevant information.
Producers will, of course, watch to update consumers all of the time. I think we’ll start seeing signs of rejection from consumers in the next year, like, a digital burnout, where people try to arrive at a stronger balance between screens and real life.