I got a smartphone notification from Apple recently, telling me: “You have a new memory”. It was reminding me that I had a photo on my camera roll of my goddaughter, taken several months ago. Thanks, Apple. Totally unnecessary, however. My goddaughter, Gabriella, is a cherub and I will never forget her.
The “reminder”, which lit up my phone screen as I was working, was just one more technological distraction.
It seems Apple is trying to keep abreast of fierce competition in the battle for eyeballs and revenue in the “new economy”. In this instance, it backfired, though. Instead, it redoubled my determination to turn off those annoying smartphone notifications. Don’t people have anything better to do than look at phone screens all day? Yes, of course we do! It’s called “real life”.
Turn them off (under “settings”) because Apple is not the worst offender, not by a long shot. The social media networks are becoming increasingly invasive, ruining our quality of life with this constant nonsense.
Take Twitter, for example. OK, it’s a medium that’s mainly populated by journalists spamming each other and “internet marketing” types who buy thousands of followers using bots, follow you so you will follow them back, then unfollow you.
Twitter also sends out an increasing number of notifications, such as “Maria Tam, Elsie Leung and Leung Chun-ying shared Xi Jinping’s tweet”. Seriously, do we care? Or “John Fok hasn’t tweeted in a while. See his tweet”. Get lost. For a start, I haven’t a clue who the Fok John is.
Then, of course, there’s Facebook. “Ten of your friends have birthdays today. Wish them happy birthday.” No! I’ll do it tonight over beers if they are real friends. “Two of your friends are going to an event near you today.” No they’re not. The venue in question is two buses, a train, then a taxi ride away. Please leave me alone.
All these interweb companies want our clicks as they and advertisers grapple with the challenges of an ever-evolving moneymaking landscape. But their push to reel us into their orbit may be self-defeating, turning us off instead. That’s right: notifications off.
Oh, one more thing. Follow me on Twitter: @marcosharpy