The Dumbing Down Of Today’s Users As Smart Phone Technology Reaches Maturity on the Web
David versus the Goliaths
I sit here today writing this, having spent the last 4 years developing, building and testing our online fantasy sports platform. Playnbrag – where you can challenge your friends on fantasy football & 8 other sports. Where the winner takes the pot and bragging rights.
A one of a kind site, where fantasy sports meets sports betting. Aimed at the more casual sports fan.
We have been “live” since the 19th of March this year (2016) when we did a soft launch (beta test). Followed by a bigger push and more official launch in the 9 days before the Euros 2016 kicked off in June.
Building something Great
We had focused on building a great product, one that focused on strong user engagement and experience. One where the user experience was streamlined and effortless. Where you could create a league in seconds and get your friends to join in a timely fashion. We also factored in a model that allowed users to share their links / private leagues easily so that it could potentially go viral through word of mouth. As well as through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Changing of the status quo
What I had not factored in, or under estimated is how user behaviour and culture has changed from smart phone usage reaching a maturity point on the web.
What’s interesting here is how smart phone culture has completely changed consumer behaviour on the web. The attention span of the average user has dropped considerably. Which has been replaced with a browsing – watching videos, scanning headline / articles – culture.
There is a saying that I recently read “It’s not about attention span…..it’s about engaging content. If they like what they are reading / watching they will continue to engage.”
Now this is correct……. to a Point.
The problem in this modern era of social media channels, and video, is that users literally will only stop for more than a few seconds. Unless the information they are been shown is incredibly easy to digest. If it requires any thought processing what’s so ever they will simply move on to the next thing.
This in some respects is a worrying trend. As we have, and are continuing to create, a culture of instant gratification, with minimum effort, minimum participation, and minimum commitment but are still looking for something in return.
Our capacity to watching videos is increasing. While our capacity to read any sort of in-depth articles, or take a time out to understanding anything new is decreasing.
This indeed, is the age of browsing, with the maturity of smart phone technology on the web. I hope for our sake, and our future generation’s sake that this is only a phase that will pass. As it threatens to dumb down our culture, our creativity, and our imagination.
As Albert Einstein once famously said –
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
The simple reality is that for something to go viral on the web in this day and age, it needs to be incredibly simple, and must take the absolute minimum amount of effort to understand. Welcome to the world of Pokemon Go …….where we will be surrounded by Headless Human Chickens before we know it –
Oisin Walsh – Founder and CEO of Playnbrag.com