“Like 99% of the value that people actually get out of Facebook, if you put distraction aside, probably requires 20 minutes on Sunday.”
Perhaps as a byproduct of my age and the realization that time is not infinite, I’ve often thought about what value I get from certain activities. I still waste too much time on task avoidance, but with the exception of checking Twitter for Island related news, I spend far less time than ever before one (anti-)social media. My guilty pleasure is looking at puppy videos on Instagram in the evening, which has the positive effect of ending the day with a smile or laugh.
There’s a rarefied number of activities to invest time in that are really important and return a lot of value—the amount of value [in these activities] is way higher than, say, the little bit of value you get by seeing a funny Tweet or writing a comment on a friend’s Facebook post. Spreading your time and attention over these low value things takes your time and attention away from the things that are disproportionately higher value.
If you want to maximize the amount of value you feel in your life, the mathematics are clear: You want to put as much of your time and effort as possible into the small number of things to give you these huge rewards. When you think about it that way, fear of missing out looks like, just mathematically speaking, a really bad strategy.
I’ve ordered his book Digital Minimalism to gain more insights into the techno-exhaustion that plagues our always-on, digitally caffeinated culture.
Cal Newport on Why We’ll Look Back at Our Smartphones Like Cigarettes. See also Cal Newport: Why you should quit social media
I gave both my kids accounts with Public Mobile when they arrived in PEI for a combination of reasons: the price came slightly under any family plan offered by other providers, they supported their older iPhones, and I saw the lack of interaction with store personnel as a big positive. The fact that their website, with it’s wireframe aesthetic, seemed more task focused as compared to the others Campbell alphabet soup approach, worked in their favour too.
But, my son hasn’t had any data in what would appear to be over a month. We utilize all the features of the iOS platform, including the blue bubbles of iMessage, location sharing and etc. When these features never worked for him I figured he had just turned something off, and I didn’t have time to investigate further. It nows seems this is something with Public Mobile.
I’ve never had a network problem, at least in the past 10 years, that a simple restart wouldn’t fix. The problem seems a bit deeper this time and after spending 40 minutes on the community website looking for answers, the required course of action, I am left with the same unresolved problem.
This “You’re the boss when it comes to your account” philosophy sounds nice if the service works as advertised, but if you loathe troubleshooting mundane problems such as this, or don’t have time to waste it might be worth investigating someone else.
The Journal of the Formosan Medical Association graciously had released the following under Open Access.
The overall prevalence of MP use for Taiwanese children aged 11–15 years was estimated at 63.2% (95% CI = 61.1–65.3%). The prevalence showed a small sex difference, but presented evident age and geographic variations. The prevalence increased steadily from 45% for 11-year-old children to 71.7% for children aged 15 years. Children living in the Central area showed the highest prevalence (69.3%), whereas those from the South area had the lowest prevalence at 58.3%. We also noted that children who attended private schools had a higher prevalence of MP use than public school students.
Some 71.1% of guardians reported that the main reason for their children to use MPs was because of safety considerations. However, 27.6% admitted that peer pressure was the main reason for their children to own MPs. Forty-five percent of children used MPs for calling or receiving every day, 30.7% talked >2 days/week, and 18.9% used MPs 1–2 days/week. More than half (45%) of children had used MPs for calling or receiving daily, 34.8% reported daily MP use of 21–40 minutes, and 4.4% of children used MPs for at least 1 hour every day. During weekdays, children often (41.7%) talked on MPs in the evening. The MP use pattern during the weekend was somewhat different; children often used their MPs for calling or receiving in the afternoon (33.3%), and then in the evening (24.6%). Of the children studied, 9.8% frequently used MPs for calling or receiving after 10:00 PM, a time of lights out for many families during weekdays, and the corresponding figure for the weekend was 6.7%
From Mobile phone use and health symptoms in children in the Journal of the Formosan Medical Association
Volume 114, Issue 7, July 2015, Pages 598-604
“All you can eat data for 699”
I got the above ad in my emailbox last week and with an impending move to Canada, comparisons ensued.
The offer from ChungHwa is par for the course in Taiwan, all you can use data, a countrywide wifi network, plus a free Android tablet for 699NT$ ($30CAN). Voice calling is available for a fee in the plan but few would use such a service as many prefer to using apps to for voice. This offer uses Chunghwa’s 4G network which would might be the slower of their networks offered here, but comparable to what you would find in Canada.
Rogers has a confusing array of plans so I recorded those which seems to be the most comparable.
The above is the current offer(s) from Rogers. All of the Rogers plans focus on complex rules in order to gain more revenue from fees, which are already the highest I have ever seen anywhere. No simple flat rate pricing. With Rogers you get 100mb for $10 CAN, which would should cover those who check email once a month, and $20/2 Gig afterwards. I assume like parking lot swindles, they charge you for the full amount even if only slightly over. You pay for a tablet or device separately. The second plan gives you 5 Gigs for $60, with a similar over use fee. Particularly amusing is their framing of the light and heavy plans.
When I move to Canada this summer I am expecting a 3 fold increase in fees on my mobile plan. The plan itself will be on a slower network with severe data caps. I’m going to miss the freedom that mobile plans in Asia provide.
The trouble knowing how much screen time is ‘too much’. Concerns about the harm caused by “too much” screen time – particularly when it is spent on social media – are widespread. But working out what a “healthy” amount might be is far from easy.
What The Screen Time Experts Do With Their Own Kids
For the kids, since they started school, the rule is “no media on weekdays.” They unplug at family dinner and before bed. They have a family movie night on Fridays, which is an example of the principle Radesky touts in her research, of “joint media engagement,” or simply sharing screen time.
On weekends, they allow the kids cartoons, apps and games like Minecraft. But more than just limiting time, says Radesky, “I try to help my older son be aware of the way he reacts to video games or how to interpret information we find online.” For example, she tries to explain how he is being manipulated by games that ask him to make purchases while playing.
Over the course of just three years, active smartphones with 5.5″ to 6″ screens grew from 7.5% to 43% according to Scientia Mobile’s panel of mobile Web browsing activity.
Source: The Increasing Size of Smartphones
Screen time is a daily battle. Between kids and parents, between ourselves and our better judgment. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. There is a better way.
How to Find the Right Amount of Screen Time – Note to Self
For many of us, they are the last thing we look at before sleep each night, and the first thing we reach for upon waking. We use them to meet people, to communicate, to entertain ourselves, and to find our way around. We buy and sell things with them. We rely on them to document the places we go, the things we do and the company we keep; we count on them to fill the dead spaces, the still moments and silences that used to occupy so much of our lives.
For all its ubiquity, though, the smartphone is not a simple thing. We use it so often that we don’t see it clearly; it appeared in our lives so suddenly and totally that the scale and force of the changes it has occasioned have largely receded from conscious awareness. In order to truly take the measure of these changes, we need to take a step or two back, to the very last historical moment in which we negotiated the world without smartphone in hand.
It’s been transformative in many ways, but issues of overuse have gradually created the impression that the smartphone is creating more problems than it is solving. Just look at any dinner table at a restaurant in Taiwan as an example.
One of the more interesting stories coming from the experiences using the new Apple Watch LTE is the freedom of not having a phone with you, with all it’s attention sucking habits. People feel free. With the limited interaction afforded by the Apple Watch, Apple has recreated the basic flip phone of the past, but as jewelry on your wrist.
If there was a gold rush it may be over. One in ten thousand mobile apps are considered a financial success.
Consumers are increasingly turning to recommendation engines, friends, social networking or advertising to discover mobile applications rather than sorting through the thousands of mobile apps available. As a consequence, Gartner, Inc. predicts that through 2018, less than 0.01 percent of consumer mobile apps will be considered a financial success by their developers.
“The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many,” said Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just for fun. Application designers who do not recognize this may find profits elusive.”
Gartner: Less Than 0.01 Percent of Consumer Mobile Apps Will Be Considered a Financial Success …
A key differentiator might be a solid UX strategy.
Some key points from 15 Mobile UX Facts & Insights (2017), that are relevant to what I am working on lately.
- Cellphones are ubiquitous. A Pew Research report suggests that 95% of Americans own a cellphone; around 77% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, which is up from 68% from last year’s report. Smartphone ownership rate is highest in South Korea (88%) and lowest in Ethiopia (4%). This rate also varies by age, with 97-98% of millennials (18-34) owning a smartphone.
- Mobile applications are predominantly used for killing time, but a large percentage of online shopping now happen on mobile phones. Mobile commerce is expected to reach 45% of the e-commerce market or $284 billion by 2020.
- People use their phones around 80 times each day; 69% of digital time is spent on mobile, versus 31% on desktop.
- Mobile delays are worse than standing in line and are considered more stressful than watching horror movies!
- On average around 27 apps are used per month and around 6-10 are used in a week. People spend, on average, about 40 hours a month on their mobile apps. Women spend, on average,about 42 hours a month, whereas men spend 39 hours a month. App usage also varies by age. Smartphone users, ages 18-24, access around 25 apps per month. 25-49 year olds access 28 apps, 50-60 year olds access 25 apps, and 65+ access an average of 21 apps per month.
- Though portrait orientation is slightly more preferred to landscape (60% versus 40%), users noted that how they hold their devices depends both on the device size and on the activity, such as watching videos, playing games, reading, or web browsing. This may be changing.
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Is there a better way of showing a text message in a film? How about the internet? Even though we’re well into the digital age, film is still ineffective at depicting the (digital) world we live in. Maybe the solution lies not in content, but in form.
The differences between page and screen go beyond the simple tactile pleasures of good paper stock. To the human mind, a sequence of pages bound together into a physical object is very different from a flat screen that displays only a single “page” of information at a time. The physical presence of the printed pages, and the ability to flip back and forth through them, turns out to be important to the mind’s ability to navigate written works, particularly lengthy and complicated ones. We quickly develop a mental map of the contents of a printed text, as if its argument or story were a voyage unfolding through space. If you’ve ever picked up a book that you read long ago and discovered that your hands were able to locate a particular passage quickly, you’ve experienced this phenomenon. When we hold a physical publication in our hands, we also hold its contents in our mind.
The spatial memories seem to translate into more immersive reading and stronger comprehension. A recent experiment conducted with young readers in Norway found that, with both expository and narrative works, people who read from a printed page understand a text better than those who read the same material on a screen. The findings are consistent with a series of other studies on the process of reading. “We know from empirical and theoretical research that having a good spatial mental representation of the physical layout of the text supports reading comprehension,” wrote the Norwegian researchers1. They suggested that the ability of print readers to “see as well as tactilely feel the spatial extension and physical dimensions” of an entire text likely played a role in their superior comprehension.
Paper Versus Pixel. The science of reading shows that print and digital experiences are complementary.