Last week I logged into Netflix and saw a pile of notifications. A growing number of little red flags, letting me know about new shows that were being released – shows that I had never even seen or heard of. That’s what Netflix thought was worth sharing with me personally.
Other sites are no better. This weekend I didn’t check Facebook for hours and tallied up 15 notifications, a number that doesn’t seem too crazy anymore, considering all they ping about. Except not one of them had anything to do with me. It was all mutual pages that had been posted on and random views … nothing that needed immediate attention. Yet I scrolled through each and every one of them. Twitter and Instagram are better and only notify when something actually pertains – but they also do so via site, push messages, and email. Then there’s Snapchat (even if someone accidently types at you), LinkedIn, texts, emails, Facebook messages, and whatever other type of social apps you belong to – it gets overwhelming.
The Idea of Notifications
In theory, these don’t sound so outrageous. We need to know when something is going on, right? But when something tiny is happening every second of the day, we no longer feel that same, “Yeah, keep me in the loop” attitude. Instead, it feels like a kindergartener constantly tapping on our shoulder. “But teacher, Facebook did this to me,” and “Heeeey, Snapchat is touching me!” And just like any teacher would, we block out the noise. Instead, we adjust our settings and play loud music.
These tattles of seemingly nothingness causes us to become numb to the entire process. It makes us lose track of what we should actually be notified about.
Oh, and can we talk about how you don’t get notifications through Facebook if you’re tagged (even by a friend) on a page you don’t belong to? With all the other crap you tell us about, you can’t tell us when someone we know is directly conversing? Psshhh
This slanted hierarchy system, and the sheer volume of pings are all taking us to a world where dings are almost meaningless. New notification? Who cares. Phone blowing up? Ehh it’s probably nothing. That’s where we’ve landed.
When the alternative is scrolling through text, most of which is unrelated, it’s easy to get bogged down and numb to the entire process.
Thankfully, settings can be personalized in order to cut out the notifications we don’t want to receive … for the most part. Eventually though, we assume sites will work around this – they’ll find a way to notify us, even when we don’t want to be told. Notifications get people using their programs. They need us to be constantly plugged in, and finding a new way to reach customers can make that happen. That is, until we become numb to that round, too. Leaving us with a circle of being chased and finding new places to hide – and we’ve got to admit, social media, it doesn’t sound that fun. Not even a little bit.