A few weeks ago during a routine brainstorming meeting, it was announced that Friday, March 9th was a movement known as the National Day of Unplugging. I was encouraged by my team to be the guinea pig and unplug for a day. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, or frightened at just the thought of no connection for 24 hours, check out their site here. The movement promises of a life more connected to people if you pledge to unplug, even if for only short periods of time. They even offer quirky social graphics and a cell phone sleeping bag if you can get a team to commit to the day. (Maybe next year!)
Over the coming weeks, I fantasized about what a day of unplugging could possibly be like. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that as an adult I have not really experienced it. As most 90’s kids, I can remember a time when the only true digital connection I had was on AIM when I had finished my homework and was allowed to use the dial-up internet to hop into a chat room, or post an overly dramatic - but well thought out - away message. In my high school years, the only cell phone I had was a prepaid track-phone I kept for emergencies in the glovebox of my car. My memories of an unconnected world seemed like a lifetime away.
As the day got closer, I was routinely reminded of my commitment to unplug for 24 hours. The panic and fear was becoming real. How could I possibly not touch my phone, check my email every 5 minutes, or KUWTK on Instagram?? Is it even possible? Given my role in a digitally-based company, even just the thought of this made me uncomfortable. My entire world is often in my pocket or on my lap at all times.
I could not help but wonder just how long I was spending a day on devices. Sure, I know that I spend anywhere from 8-12 hours a day on my computer, but then I realized that I am often multi-devicing. Sometimes working on my computer and my phone at the same time - I am sure this is the norm for most. I realized that I was most likely in denial about my incessant phone touching, so a quick search turned up some apps that will help you realize exactly how much time you are spending on your phone in a day.
Just downloading the Moment App made me self-conscious about touching my phone. It was as if having the app on there would alert the universe (or just my husband, who constantly nags me to get off my phone) to just how much time I was spending on it. I slept on it, and by the next day I was back to my normal habits.
The first 24 hours with the app seemed endless, I found myself opening my phone just to check the stats within the app. Phone addiction, anyone? A 24-hour period of monitoring revealed I had spent 2 hours and 9 minutes on my phone. I had picked up my phone 113 times and had spent 13% of my waking life on my phone. This made the “just needing more time in my day” joke not so funny. If I needed an extra hour in my day I had just found it.
The 113 phone pick-ups, tied to the short rapid pick-ups, had me thinking about myself as a consumer. Often when discussing mobile behavior with clients, we discuss micro-moments; short moments of time in which we interact with brands online. I was seeing my own micro-moments in the most nerdy way possible. It was so cool!
I quickly realized that not only do I need a day of detoxing from my devices, I may need a total lifestyle change. There are so many things happening all around us all the time and I feared that I may be missing some of the best things while my face is buried in my phone.
So, in honor of National Unplugging Day, we will be taking an oath as a team to talk face-to-face on March 9th. We will vow to put our Slack account to sleep for the day, put down our phones and have more in-person conversations.
If you’re interested in understanding your own customer’s micro-moments, but don’t know where to start, we can help! Contact the team at Citro Digital to learn more.