Widespread availability of location capabilities has enabled a range of new applications showing where we are. We also have applications allowing us to show which of our friends are in the neighborhood right now, without connecting in advance. The ability to share where we are and letting technology keep track of suggestions on who to connect with in real life here and now is transforming social patterns in the city.
We plan less in advance on what to do and when to do it. We let opportunities and the moment guide what we decide to do. These shorter decision cycles also raise expectations on instant appreciation for what we decide to do. If it is not good, we always have the option to shift to a new place or activity nearby. These social patterns represent a significant new factor for many businesses labeled as social meeting places, such as restaurants, cafes, bars, museums, stores and arenas.
A new lifestyle is emerging around applications that allow us to meet new people based on proximity of interests and locations. Who around me shares my interests and would be an interesting person to meet? Is anyone interested in sharing travel memories over a cup of coffee? Is there anyone else in this hotel who prefers company rather than eating alone tonight? This may not be adopted quickly by the middle-aged population, but it could become a new factor in the social life in the city for the younger generations.
Here are my predictions for the location/phone-enabled social life in the city:
– The planning horizon for social meetings will continue to shrink.
– Spontaneous meetings based on location, interest and mood will continue to grow in importance.
– Connecting first with a URL to meet soon ‘IRL’ will become an increasingly relevant scenario for how to make new social connections.
– Cityzens will be faced by more challenging privacy decisions on how much of their life to expose.
Are you among the users dependent on four or five networked devices on a daily basis? These devices provide endless opportunities and can also create addictive behaviors. Nevertheless, some of us might benefit from a bit of “digital detox” during our vacation as we recharge for the fall.
A survival question for application developers is to offer their applications on a variety of platforms, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs and TVs. It is also about the seamless transition between them and to allow for dual-screen use cases. This creates an application availability opportunity for users to take advantage of or to use excessively.
Many users have adopted a multiscreen and multi-social media lifestyle without putting boundaries for when their URL life should stand back for their IRL experiences. Both business communications and excessive social media use could become a stress factor to wind down from during the vacation.
The digital detox industry is growing quickly and offers everything from initial seminars to advanced programs. All with the purpose of finding your own well-being during a period without or with reduced device access. It is not about dropping the devices but finding the right balance between your networked and your physical/mental life. Both are an essential part of life in the Networked Society in the same way as a great meal requires both food and drinks in order to be well-balanced.
My suggestions for vacations this summer:
– Reflect on your personal usage patterns and decide which screen and app combination makes you relax and enjoy life, without causing stress.
– If you are a heavy user of both business communication and social media, consider dropping one of them during your vacation this year.
– Elaborate with shifting content consumption patterns to a new media/device combination allowing you to free up time. For example, stop reading full books and shift to audio summaries of the same book.
– Determine which stimuli reactions, for example, responding, pinning, liking, re-tweeting you see as adding value to your important life accomplishments.