But it’s not the smartphone itself that’s to blame; it’s the battle for our attention, as Samuel Veissiere professor at McGill University expands on.
“There is nothing inherently addictive about technology. Rather, it is the social expectations and rewards connecting with other people that send us into frenzies of highs, lows and longings”
The big tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Netflix and Snapchat are all well aware of this. They are constantly battling to grab our attention at any given moment by feeding our addiction thanks to ever more sophisticated algorithms.
These companies are constantly optimising their platforms to capture our attention. Last year Snapchat introduced ‘streaks’ to reward long term exchanges between ‘Snapchaters’. A ‘Snapchat streak is when you send direct snaps back and forth with a friend for several consecutive days. The longer you go without breaking the chain of communication, the longer your streak is. Snapchat rewards longer streaks with special emojis, such as the “100” emoji for streaks lasting 100 days, or a mountain emoji for an extremely long streak.’
Taking interactions and virtual social friendships to the next level by incentivising teenagers to interact with each other, even at the risk of seeing their friendships suffering:
“On Snapchat, streaks develop a level of friendship between people. The longer your snap streak is, the better friends you are”
“I think in some weird way it makes concrete a feeling of a friendship”
“A big part of it is social acceptance…having more streaks makes you feel more popular.”
“I think streaks are a way of showing how many people you talk to. It’s like a score. If you see your friends have a lot of streaks, you’re like, ‘Whoa, that guy knows a lot of people.’ It shows their social status to see how many streaks they have. But also, some people don’t care.”
Whilst audiences are connecting, the addiction to our phones and social media in particular has some health warnings.
Recent research highlighted that Instagram was the social media platform most likely to cause young people to feel depressed, anxious and lonely. Snapchat was a close second. “It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people,” said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH
Motorola have always led tech innovation to deliver consumer amazing real life experiences, through their mod product features, like the projector and speakers. This proposition fits perfectly with the need to help consumers get more phone life balance, so they challenged us to introduce this stand point across EMEA.
Unfortunately, despite clear benefits, we know brands can easily fall short when they ‘preach’ to consumers. Therefore we knew that consumers needed to come to the realisation themselves and for this we utilised an insight from Beau Lotto, whereby through uncertainty we would get consumers to challenge their perception and actions, without telling them what they should think.
Consumers are growing in their awareness of the negative side effects of technology, but there are few changes to consumption. In fact, millennials are moving from Facebook to Instagram, which we know to be a more depressing social platform.
Motorola created a quiz format that would instigate consumers to challenge their perceptions of phone usage, through questions that would entice an uncertain audience, like, ‘Do you own your phone, or does your phone own you?’
We seeded the quiz via social media to highlight the problem and influence their target audience to find the solution themselves.
We ran a social campaign in France and achieved a good performance across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We delivered 64,694 engagements across the social posts and drove 6,328 reactions demonstrating the caused consumers to feel compelled to share their emotional reaction to the post.
Take the quiz and see how you balance phone and life: https://phonelifebalance.motorola.com
Ultimately, evolution of tech isn’t the core problem but social media and our reaction to it. Motorola has been a great advocate of raising awareness on that important topic and we look forward to seeing the progression of this approach.