An interesting theme has cropped up recently on the web, a certain rebellion to spending too much time on our connected devices as new figures suggest that we now spending up to 23 days a year stuck to our screens. This frustration has been vented in a recent video posted by a film producer on YouTube that quickly went viral.
The short film titled ‘Look up’, describes the need for us all to do as the title suggests, to look up and experience life, rather than being attached to our screens. It comments through poetry, observing that although we are now more connected than ever, we are becoming more and more socially isolated. Ironically this video was viewed 36 million times, on a social network, using a connected device. This minor issue aside, it is an interesting ‘social frustration’ that seems to have been quite popular for that particular video at least. Whether it grows to become a ‘movement’ or not is yet to be seen.
It raises the question of whether we are slowly becoming socially dependent on technology; smartphones and smart devices are meant to assist in our lives, rather than control them. Smartphone apps, games, and social networks demand our attention, and fuel the need for us to be attached to our screens. Along with the gamification of our social networks, we now crave notifications, wearing the number of retweets, likes and shares as a mark of pride.
When the first iPhone was launched in 2007, it was heralded as a phenomenal piece of design, a fundamental leap in technology, opening up the possibilities as to what we can experience, how we consume information, which could broaden our personal horizons. But it seems what we’ve now ended up with is a situation where we have a ‘needy’ product sat in our pockets that we are never 2 or 3 metres away from. We have developed reliance upon these devices to satisfy our desire for online social presence, or a need to repeatedly beat our high score on ‘Flappy Bird’.
"It seems what we’ve now ended up with is a situation where we have a ‘needy’ product sat in our pockets that we are never 2 or 3 metres away from"
Of course, we must look at the alternative case to the ‘Look up’ film, broadly it is a piece on social commentary that does take a rather ‘extreme scenario’ view of mobile devices. Also, there is a certain irony in that the team making this film are using a platform on which people will view this content on a screen, acknowledging that it is one of the best methods of sharing your content, and sharing your message.
It’s not all negative for our current crop of smartphones. It must be said that the capabilities of the devices we own allow us to do a whole range of things, from booking a flight, to ordering a pizza. The ability and convenience of that black rectangle in your pocket has allowed you to access information and achieve tasks infinitely faster than you could have done without it, but I suppose much like ordering a pizza it is everything in moderation.
"The ability and convenience of that black rectangle in your pocket has allowed you to access information and achieve tasks infinitely faster than you could have done without it"
The development of wearable technology may allow our devices to serve us better, in the case of smart watches for example, we may start to ‘glance’ at information, rather than being immersed in it, leaving our phones in our pockets. Who knows, when a new generation of products come on the market that highlight this issue, it may seem old fashioned to be constantly checking your phone, or spending long periods of time attached to one device. With the development of technology to share notifications and relevant pieces of information across a number of devices, rather than just one screen, our reliance on that black rectangle may just be reduced.
Hopefully we will find a happy medium in the next few years where the balance of ‘experiencing life’ vs ‘technology usage’ is readdressed.
Still, imagine what you could do with those 23 days a year.
...Here’s to idle conversation and chit chat.
This article was originally written by myself for Yoyo Design, the original content can be found here