Is this how bad we’ve gotten? We can’t remember to brush hour teeth?
We’ve heard stories about gamers dying from lack of eating due to their addictions. Dying!
Part of me just has to question the whole thing. How did we get here? How are these people handling life in a way that they forget these things?
Now I’m not here to put this down. I’ve followed Amber’s work for awhile and it seems like she’s done a great job building up people positively as well as community. So kudos to her.
But is this where we are? Do we need to be spoon fed? To be reminded to do the simplest tasks in life?
Aloe is an app to remind you to check in with yourself and do self care. Which has seen both praise and pushback.
I will say, the support was bigger than I expected to see. It’s resonating.
Here’s what’s going on.
In the old days, we filled any big stretch of free time or boredom with the media available at the time. You had movies, books, the paper, and the radio. 2 hours free after dinner? Gather round the radio for the program.
But today it’s about the minutes of free time not the hours.
Because today we’ve got devices in our hands, and an explosion of new media.
So every media business today is fighting for all of the unused time that previously was unfilled.
See if you add up enough 1–5 minute stretches during the day…
It’s actually a lot of time. And that time can be advertised against and charged for.
From waking up to showering. From getting in the car to getting to work, while you wait in line.
Time that used to go unfilled is slowly filling.
Media is in a war for your attention, and they want every nook and cranny of your time. The mantra of today is never-not-be-consuming.
If you think this isn’t true, tell me honestly you haven’t taken your phone into the bathroom.
The problem is, that loss of space — it’s destroying our ability to see with a bit more context. Where we are in space and time. We’re so focused IN, zoomed IN, that we can’t see the big picture. So eating, sleeping, showering…it all just falls by the way side.
Our focus is on the screen.
So, it’s got me thinking, yeah, ok, tech got us into this mess, it’s tech’s job to dig us out.
We’ve got entire teams dedicating to doing psychology and UX research for how to make websites more addicting. Don’t we need an entire team to help fight the addiction?
Like on Fitbit how after a certain period of time if your rhythms seem off it just simply asks “are you ok?”
What Amber’s doing with her app is hitting you with an anti-fill-every-minute-message.
“Hey, I know you want to use the next 5 minutes for maximum consumption time on Instagram, but you forgot to eat.”
It’s people who think like this that are pushing our tech to be inclusive and intentional.
One interesting bit about the pushback to this, is that there is a free twitter bot that does this called Tinycarebot. Interestingly enough, the bot picked up on people’s tweets in some of the conversations about Aloe, and began tweeting at them.
Another tip that struck me about this campaign was the simple idea of a community wall/garden for all backers. It seems so obvious but it’s little details like that that make all the difference. Plus it’s cute and pairs well thematically.
Plants grow when they’re given some space.
When things develop over time and they get the right sun, the right watering.
People need that too.
We just have been focusing elsewhere.