I’ve been watching a lot of commercials recently thanks to the World Cup and NFL games, and many mention the word “connected” and phrases like “connected is better.” My first thought was, “Is being more connected better?”
We have smartphones, tablets, computers, Bluetooth headphones, smartwatches, and an endless array of other gadgets that “connect” us. But are we too connected? And further into the future, will we long for the days when we lived in a so-called “analog world?”
Here’s my hypothesis: As we continue to be inundated with a relentless barrage of information and content thanks to technology “connecting” us, analog-only experiences or places will become increasingly popular.
An analog-only experience would be something that requires you to “disconnect” — meaning to experience something without any technology.
This is already happening, to some extent, with comedians using services such as Yondr, a San Francisco-based company that provides patrons with a small bag with a lock at the top, into which they must put their phone or other device before entering the venue. After the performance is finished, the usher will unlock the bag, and patrons may then use their phones.
For comedians or any other type of live performance, this is a great way to ensure there are no distractions for the performer or audience members. Could this apply elsewhere? Absolutely. The Denver public education system piloted a test run of Yondr bags in select classrooms in 2017, with Garrett Rosa, principal of Vista Peak Preparatory in Aurora, saying, “People are not experiencing things anymore, whether it’s deep learning or live comedy because we’re too focused on taking selfies and not being in the moment.”
Whether it’s Yondr bags, an automated collection system, or an area that constantly sends out electromagnetic pulses to turn off devices (just spitballing here), I believe that in the future, this will be the norm. How many times have you been out with someone—either at a bar, a movie, dinner, or a park—and they are constantly on their phone or flipping their wrist over to check their latest notification? Would the lack of a technological device help or hurt that experience?
Places like parks, restaurants, zoos, movie theaters, or any other public place could implement an analog-only policy, and it would be up to us, as patrons, to choose whether turning over our devices for a select amount of time would be of any value. I believe it would be. Do we really need to see pictures of a monkey in a cage or a tweet of your movie tickets? Instead, we could focus on experiencing the moment and being actively engaged with those we came with, which would, ideally, result in a more meaningful experience for everyone involved.
The idea isn’t that far-fetched. Private establishments have the choice to sell alcohol or not, allow smoking or not, and could potentially, allow tech devices or not.
It’s a wild idea, understandably so. But when your phone starts sounding off with notifications, the latest Elon tweet, or advertisements from your favorite shopping app, ask yourself if this level of connectivity is adding value to your life, or if perhaps it’s time to return to the analog days, even just for a few hours.
All opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s own and do not represent the views of KrASIA. Questions, concerns, or fun facts can be sent to [email protected].