With the advancement of technology, the way we interact has changed dramatically. We started to communicate more through the digital world than through the physical. Technology has not only changed our interactions, our routines, how we formulate ideas and make decisions, it has changed society as a whole.
We spent hours inside shopping malls and bookstores, we walked through stores comparing product prices… Today, these habits have become much more a matter of leisure than of necessity.
The digital transformation forced companies to innovate business models, but it was not the companies that led the process, it was society, connected twenty-four hours a day, demanding high-performance solutions, accurate, relevant and instantaneous information, anytime, anywhere, from any device.
Recently, with the Covid-19 pandemic, people began to look for alternative ways to get on with their lives, which further accelerated this process. Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Zoom began to fill this need for human contact in real-time, responding to the desires of customers and users, who are increasingly restless for quick interactions.
An example of a platform that emerged because of this demand for shorter content is TikTok. The idea is to allow recording, editing and sharing short videos directly from the cell phone. But this is not an exclusive feature of this platform. We live in the era of speed and immediacy and the culture of fast content consumption reaches people of all social classes and ages.
If, on the one hand, these platforms help meet our need for connections, some side effects of their excessive use are evident. This is called “infoxication”, a term created by the Spanish physicist Alfons Cornellá that combines the words information and intoxication: the result of hyper-connectivity, which has symptoms such as stress, fatigue, fatigue and impatience.
This happens because the brain, not having pauses in the consumption of content, cannot support the number of new information. Greece Augusta, marketing manager of a company in Sorocaba, São Paulo, said in an interview with Cláudia Magazine (in an article written by Isabella D’Ercole, published on June 19, 2021 called “Accelerated audios and videos: how the pace of the internet increases anxiety”) that noticed the first symptoms when she started to be bothered by conversations that took place in person – “People seemed to be talking slowly”. Her perception started after getting into the habit of listening to WhatsApp audios at an accelerated speed.
But how to balance the growing demand for services and products that connect us even faster without overwhelming users?
The answer lies in an ethical commitment to creating products that reduce screen time, protecting our minds from distractions and information overload. Ethical canvas is a tool to help create products that generate sustainable engagement, increasing awareness of the issues and risks associated with hyper-connectivity and dependency through the identification and minimization of negative impacts.
Ethical actions have been shaping the way products and services are offered. This new awareness can be seen in initiatives such as Google’s, which recently created a usage control system for the Android platform. The tool allows to time the use of applications, displaying in detail how much time the user spends in each one of them, alerting to the need for breaks.
If “infoxication” is the disease, detoxification involves a reflection on the solely numbers-oriented product culture. This new awareness in the creation of digital products has been gaining strength with initiatives like Google’s. Delivering sustainable and healthy solutions for customers and users that truly create value, allowing them to achieve their goals without spending hours in front of the screen, is where we will have the benefits of a sustainable business relationship.
By Mateus Ignácio, Product Owner na Invillia