Our Life Offline

Trends / Technology
Malte Mueller
Tristen Norman
Jun 2, 2020
For people around the world, technology has become the primary connective tether to the things that matter most: families, friends, partners, work, hobbies – you name it. We can make plans, share love, find community – all through the devices around us.

Technology doesn’t just function as a conduit of togetherness. It’s also become a vital tool for living in today’s world. Enabling our ability to move around with services like Uber and Lyft, order anything from new clothes to a DNA testing kit, power and heat our homes, pay our bills and so much more. From our research study Visual GPS, we uncovered that 74% of consumers say that technology allows them to track their goals. It’s safe to say we’re incredibly reliant on our devices.

Yet, there’s a downside to technology’s pervasiveness that’s been bubbling beneath the surface for the last few years.
Countless former Silicon Valley employees have blown the whistle on the companies at the forefront of innovation; outlining the myriad ways in which they’re designing apps, algorithms and devices with the express purpose of keeping you on them for indefinite periods of time.
Our own research has shown that there’s a growing chorus of people concerned about technology’s role in their lives, with 41% reporting that some of their relationships have been damaged by the use of technology.

Recalibrating our paradoxical relationship to technology is complicated. As we all isolate in our homes due to COVID‑19, technology has become an essential lifeline for continuity of school and work, essential services and keeping our relationships whole. Simultaneously, articles are popping up everywhere on how we can reduce our screen time or the increasing weariness we’re feeling of being constantly on video. Last year on Getty Images’ site, searches for the term ‘digital detox’ trended way above expected, growing 153% in 2019. It’s a clear indicator that as everyday consumers are looking for ways to unplug, so too are our customers.
As we visualize the important ways we are brought together by technology, we should also be visualizing all of the wonderful ways we can live outside of it. Twenty years ago, a detox looked like getting away from it all: adventures off the grid, reconnecting with nature or a complete spa day.
With a growing generation of digital natives, today's take on a digital cleanse is a little less drastic.
Whether it’s going for a walk, enjoying your hobbies like painting, reading or sewing or it’s making your next favorite dish – we can center our personal fulfillment and make technology incidental, rather than the centerpiece of our living. As MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle has said when asked about resolving our issues with tech dependency, “we are not going to ‘get rid’ of the Internet.” The technology in our lives is here to stay. It’s about how we learn to have and represent a healthier coexistence with it; taking a much needed break every once in a while.
Evolving Technology in the Covid-19 Era