More of us are choosing to be more "in the moment" and deliberately trying to reduce our screen time. How do you do a digital detox, and what are the implications for businesses as our customers are unplugging from digital?
We may be more digitally connected than ever, but concerns for our health and well-being means that many of us are considering a digital detox. From Instagram to Facebook, WhatsApp to email, we’re trying to cut down on our screen time,
Add into the mix concerns about our real life relationships, about being “in the moment” and concerns about personal privacy, and the idea of detoxing is now becoming a mainstream topic of conversation. Indeed bars, restaurants, hotels and school classrooms are experimenting with banning phones to encourage us all to enjoy living in the moment, and not experiencing life filtered through our mobile phone lens.
A research report commissioned by GlobalWebIndex reveals 70% of consumers in the UK are trying to moderate their digital consumption in some way, and 1 in 5 of us are either on or tried a full fledged digital detox.
A digital detox starts with self awareness
I must confess I was quite surprised when I reviewed my Apple Screen Time statistics on my iPad to find I spend more than 5 hours per day on that one device. Add that to the time on my iPhone, plus my desktop and it all starts to look a bit toxic.
Google has released its’ Digital Wellbeing app which integrates with Google Calendar, YouTube, and Google Home as well as other applications like Twitch and Slack.
And then to round things off, I checked out how much time I waste on Facebook using the new “Your Time on Facebook” feature available on the mobile app.
Wow. This isn’t looking good. Time for a digital detox.
Digital detox tools
If you’re ready to start a digital detox, there are some excellent tools and support mechanisms out there for you to try
8 Day Data Detox
Tactical Technology Collective have put together an 8 day programme that helps you to understand better the data that is being collected about you, and to restore a sense of sanity to your privacy online.
Lock down what Google, Facebook and the other giants know about you. Deep clean the trackers. Lock down what your mobile phone is broadcasting.
Do Not Disturb
My favourite personal detox app is the simple Do Not Disturb function on my iPhone and iPad. No pings, no rings, no alerts, no notifications. You can set your own rules for when you want to sleep, for driving the car, or just to give yourself some thinking time.
Personal Productivity Tools
Concentration. Concentration. Concentration.
It isn’t easy, particularly when you’re tempted to just check a few status updates or read an email. Simon Sinek gives a fascinating discussion about use of social media having the same addictive qualities as smoking, drinking and gambling.
If you can give yourself the space to watch this 15 minute video. Well worth it. Trust me.
There is a fascinating application called Space that short circuits the instant gratification of social media and gets you to do a quick breathing exercise, regain control, before you spiral down the rabbit hole of social media.
There are so many productivity apps that will help you regain your concentration. Do a quick search in the App store for “digital detox” and you will find lots of options to control your screen time, be more mindful of your screen time, and get unplugged.
Looking for somewhere to start? Try Flipd.
The marketing implications of your customers doing a digital detox
I imagine some readers at this point are considering the irony and paradox of a digital marketing consultant advocating a digital detox.
Just to clarify, I’m not advocating total abstinence from screen time, just taking control back.
And the reality is on average we touch our smart phones a thousand times a day and we are all part of digital’s unrelenting development and innovation.
So how can our companies understand and respect our customers’ desire for well being, for personal relationships, and genuine privacy?
Here are my 3 top suggestions for your marketing teams as our customers become more selective in how they are using their screen time:
- Your company communications and content will need to be ever more valuable and meaningful to your customers, or they will tune you out. Keep a close eye on key performance indicators like unsubscribes and unfollowing, as well as reducing levels of engagement which could mean your business is being detoxed out of your customers’ screen time.
- Your company compliance with GDPR and other privacy regulations will the cornerstone of building trust. You break that trust at your peril, and once lost never regained.
- Your digital communications will need to integrate more fully with making human connections. People do business with other people, and you will need to enable meaningful connections with your employees, with peers and colleagues. Fully integrating your offline and online marketing will keep your communications relevant and useful.