Your Notifications Are Lying to You

Your Notifications Are Lying to You

Ding! This needs your attention right now, notifications seem to say. Boing! It might be an emergency. Or, just as often: Boop! Somebody you love might want to talk to you. We get hundreds of notifications every day, and they are almost all lies.

Notifications are for the benefit of the app, the phone, the social network. They rarely benefit you.

The problem with notifications goes beyond interruptions, or the fact that they deliver randomized dopamine hits like a super-addictive slot machine. Notifications help apps skew your worldview. They make you think that your phone is important and essential.

How often do you truly need an interruption to your day, a thing that sets your pants buzzing and makes you drop what you’re doing, be it work or play, and rush to take a different action? Maybe once or twice a day, right? So why are notifications bugging you all the time?

The Goal Is Only to Get You Back on Your Phone

Your phone excels at sucking you in. The feeds are infinite, the videos autoplay. The purpose of a notification is to make you pick up your phone and spend time on it. Not to bring you news of an emergency or to communicate with your loved ones. The notifications are for Apple’s benefit, or Samsung’s, or Google’s, or Facebook’s, or Twitter’s. Not yours.

All these companies benefit when you use their products. Google wants your eyeballs and your data. Apple wants you so engaged with your iPhone that you get excited every time they launch a new one. If you just left your phone in your pocket all the time, what good are you to them?

Notifications help apps skew your worldview. They make you think that your phone is important and essential.
While writing this article, I looked at my notification center to see what had pinged me lately. I keep my notifications pretty pared down, but there was Reddit, telling me about some trending topic. “I should turn that off,” I said to myself, and then spent the next ten minutes scrolling Reddit instead.

A Notification Isn’t Really a Friend Interacting With You

The engineer who invented Facebook’s “like” button described its effects as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure.” We love the idea that a friend likes us, or that they enjoyed a thing we chose to create or share.

The dark side of that is loneliness and FOMO. You keep checking your phone, notifications or no, because you’re afraid of missing something. Maybe a loved one just texted. Maybe some important news story just broke. Maybe your coworkers are discussing something funny on Slack, and you’re missing out.

Would you go out and buy a device that grabs your attention randomly throughout the day just to tell you that the computers that run Instagram made your name scroll past an acquaintance’s screen halfway across the country? Well, you did.
Even when we hit the jackpot—aha, a friend liked a thing I posted!—it often doesn’t really mean that.

Former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris points out that social media companies design their products to make it look like your friends are interacting with you, when really they’re just clicking a button that appeared in front of them as they were scratching their own itch for social approval. They upload a photo, and Facebook suggests they tag you. They’re scrolling Twitter, and they heart your tweet because it’s right in front of them.

They didn’t seek you out. They’re not really interacting with you as a person. They just clicked something while being vaguely reminded of your presence.

Would you go out and buy a device that grabs your attention randomly throughout the day just to tell you that the computers that run Instagram made your name scroll past an acquaintance’s screen halfway across the country? Well, you did.

Apps Bundle the Stuff You Care About With the Stuff That Makes Somebody Else Money

Not every notification is bullshit. I really do want to know when my boss says my name on Slack, when an internet friend DMs me on Twitter, when my calendar says it’s time to leave for the dentist. But it’s so hard to separate the things that matter from all the stuff that doesn’t.

I’ve told my Twitter app not to send notifications when somebody likes a tweet or retweets me or follows me; those aren’t urgent. (I do like to see replies, though, so I allow those.) But when I’m using the app or Twitter.com, the little bell icon always has a badge on it, telling me something is here if you click it. It’s almost always likes and retweets, even though I’ve told Twitter I don’t care about those. They just want me to notice the little badge, and click. The few things I care about are bundled with the many I don’t…..Read More>>>

 

 

 

Source:- lifehacker

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