Binge Social Media Consumption Tipping Toward Moderate.
Wearable technology brand Altrius recently launched products to keep your smartphone out of site and out of mind. Selling jewelry synched with a smartphone, you can customize notifications so you only receive what you need to. Founder Kate Unsworth says: “We’re not telling everyone to disconnect…we give people the option.”
Unsworth’s is capitalizing on a society beginning to realize the negative psychological, social and cultural impact of over-connectivity but, for most people, complete digital detox remains an impossible dream. Creating a paradox of mobile consumers wanting to power down but still continue to consume.
In the same vain that doctors have identified levels of alcohol consumption (Moderate Consumption, Heavy Drinking and Binge Drinking) we will soon have similar definitions for our social indulgences. Perhaps based on hours spent, or on friends acquired, or on how many platforms we use, or how much we post on those platforms. Whatever the metric our society naturally agrees on the point is clear, we will identify when enough is enough and work toward being below that level, but we won’t stop consuming.
The reality is we live in a world where the idea of events occurring and us NOT sharing it online feels like an opportunity lost. Fear of living offline (FOLO) is, and will remain, ‘a thing’ caused by our “pics-or-it-didn’t-happen” social mentality fueling our need to validate a experience with a digital recollection.
Fortunately, many digital consumers have been focusing on a “less is more” approach to their social presence. We’re seeing behavior such as scrubbing ‘bad content’ from post history, posting to social less often and reserving frequent posting to smaller groups people control via rapidly growing platforms Snapchat, FB Messenger or WhatsApp. The arms race of having the most friends is over and we now focus on getting the most out of each platform.
Essentially, 2016 is about taking steps toward moderation and control over our digital desires, or at least turing to companies like Altrius for help. But the goal is no longer quitting cold turkey, trumping prior trends of Digital Detox, but to arrive at a time where social is part of our lives, not controlling them.
It won’t be long before researchers claim that a little social media with dinner each night is good for your heart.
tl;dr: Society is collectively recognizing the negative impacts of too much time spent online, but, instead of a detox we focus on ways for cutting back our binge usage to a more manageable consumption.