Who’s Really Addicting You to Technology?

The Tech

The technologies themselves, and their makers, are the easiest suspects to blame for our dwindling attention spans. Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” wrote, “The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention.”

Your Boss

While companies like Facebook harvest attention to generate revenue from advertisers, other more generic technologies have no such agenda. Take email, for example. No one company “owns” email and the faceless protocol couldn’t care less how often you use it. Yet to many, email is the most habit-forming medium of all. We check email at all hours of the day, whenever we can — before meetings begin, waiting in line for lunch, at red lights, on the toilet — we’re obsessed. But why? Because that’s what the boss wants.

Your Friends

Think about this familiar scene. People gathered around a table, enjoying food and each other’s company. There’s laughter and a bit of light banter. Then, during a lull in the conversation, someone takes out their phone to check who knows what. Barely anyone notices and no one says a thing.

You

I have a confession. Even though I study habit-forming technology for a living, disconnecting is not easy for me. I’m online far more than I’d like. Like Schwartz and so many others, I often find myself distracted and off task. I wanted to know why so I began self-monitoring to try to understand my behavior. That’s when I discovered an uncomfortable truth.

Psychology of Stuff

Interesting thoughts at the intersection of technology, psychology, and business

Nir Eyal

Written by

Nir Eyal

Author of “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” and “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.” Blogging at: NirAndFar.com

Psychology of Stuff

Interesting thoughts at the intersection of technology, psychology, and business