How digital is thriving on our lives!

"Three faculties are said to be essential to the development of the mind: observation, concentration, action."

Luc Rochefort

Unfortunately, the digital industry is well aware of this. In this article, we will share information on their methods to help you protect yourself from it!

 

The market of our lives...

Let's imagine for a moment that we live in a world where the way our brain works is constantly analysed. A world that uses our attention as raw material. A world where we are forced to make decisions against our will so that companies can get rich. And even a world where our behaviour, our habits, our way of thinking, our interests, our passions, our purchases - in short, our individual data and our lives, so to speak - would be collected and then sold to the financial markets...

Well, this is our world!

Patrick Le Lay, the former chairman and CEO of the TF1 media group, warned us two decades ago. This statement caused controversy. However, despite its cynicism, it was very true: "What we sell to a famous soda brand is available brain time". This shocking sentence represents our reality in every way. But we are talking about the old medium of television.

New technologies, new social media are at the forefront of this economic market. With the massification of smartphones, tablets and computers, almost every human being is now an accessible market share for these digital companies. Whether, as in the past, through advertising or now with our data. The data market has become global and is called the attention economy.

 

A little history.

The name 'attention economy' emerged around the beginning of the 20th century.century. Gabriel Tard, a sociologist and psychologist, formulated the first thoughts on the attention economy. He already noted that industrial overproduction needed forms of advertising that would "attract attention, fix it on the thing offered". The researcher Herbert Simon formulated this concept in clearer terms in 1971: "In an information-rich world, the abundance of information leads to the scarcity of another resource: scarcity becomes what information consumes. What information consumes is quite obvious: it is the attention of its recipients. So an abundance of information creates a scarcity of attention and the need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that can consume it.

In short, it is the principle of supply and demand. The less time we have to offer, the more valuable that time is. Thus, each market share of our time becomes a small treasure that the big groups try to grab. Let's understand that our time, our attention, is a major source of revenue, worth several hundred billion! Everything is being done to achieve this, including persuasive design. In other words, to capture our attention through psychomotor, entertainment and pleasure strategies. Nothing is done at random... From our phone, to the applications, to the ergonomics of social media, to the gifts, games, and even notifications. We tap without stopping on our screens. Welcome to the digital casino!

 

How does it work?

Taking Instagram as an example, emotion is one of the main techniques activated by this network. Knowing that vision is the first sense that transmits information to our brain, the focus on sharing images and visuals could only make it one of the most successful apps in the world. Its ergonomics are entirely designed to hypnotise us, so to speak... Between the "Likes", the shares, the photos with filters offering a more beautiful aesthetic, the feeling of belonging to the lives of others, as well as the joy of feeling appreciated. We feel a real pleasure, never satiated. This is the principle of the daily reward. Just like with the Snapchat application, which offers us streaks if we send one snap a day. So when we are careful, we quickly realise the tricks they use.

And how does Tinder work, how was this app designed? It uses all the ingenuities common to other apps and has the added bonus of playing with our most intimate feelings. It doesn't look like it! It makes a point of reminding you several times a day that you have "matches", i.e. an interested person. It plays with your heart... So, out of curiosity and a bit of ego, we are desperate to find out who this interested person is. However, to find out, you have to go through several profiles yourself and therefore make "matches". Do you understand the logic? What a waste of time.

Sending this kind of notification is one of the best ways to divert our attention and take advantage of it

There is also the principle of scarcity and stress, as mentioned earlier. Hotel booking platforms use it massively. Their "limited time offer" where you only have 3 hrs 32 min to get a discount... Which has actually been going on for two months! And will continue until the end of the low season.

This is the point of this article! Because these methods are based on our way of thinking and reacting, on the habits we have. To be able to defend ourselves, we need to know about them. Because in the long term, persuasive design seriously impairs our concentration, our ability to think critically, our memory and also our decision-making abilities. Our free will! To the point of compromising the quality of our conversations and social relationships. We need to do something about this.

 

Solutions.

We can all start looking for lost time... Solutions exist to find a digital well-being, a balance. Changing habits always requires a little discipline. Of course it does. But isn't it essential? It is often said that time is money. It is also happiness! The question is: who do you give it to? To the digital multinationals or to yourself?

We invite you to take advantage of our digital Well-being site, which will allow you to discover more about how to develop a better relationship with technology. Get involved! Find out about our training courses.

Gabriel

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