by Lauren Sobolik,
Somewhere along the way, most likely some particular moment in which I simply could not move on with life until I captured this moment on Snapchat, took a photo of it, edited it in VSCO Cam and posted it to Instagram and Facebook, I stopped and wondered to myself, “What the heck happens when this is over? Where is this hyper-connected, must-share and track affection madness going?”
What goes up, must come down, right? So what could this mean for the rise and total dominance of the digital age?
I’ve always had the hunch that because technology is what helped us all connect in the first place, it will still be technology that we use to help us disconnect from, well, technology.
We can already begin to see this happening (perhaps in baby steps) within consumer lifestyles, and now closely following, in brand communications. The trends we’re seeing in travel and leisure show us that more of what we desire in our free time is escape and exploration. This is where we tell our normal routine life we’ll, “be right back” so we can venture into some unknown and discover something new. The wonder of wandering. And it’s evolved to cover both mini and massive scales, from local “stay-cations” to global sabbaticals.
Because all of our personal social channels live in our leisure (or they’re supposed to), our leisure time is when digital brands are able to actually connect with us. They ease themselves into our personal space and provide content that allows us to explore their world, escape the Google calendar, and live vicariously through their dream lifestyle. Thank you, GoPro, Airbnb, and National Geographic for always delighting my feed with mental escapism.
The next layer that’s recently deepened our connection with technology has managed to quite physically connect us to technology -- wearables. Track your steps, monitor your sleep, count your calories, manage your water intake. These are all incredible innovations, they’re intensely designed, and they all have great intentions. But they do indeed further our technological dependency. Kovert, a high-fashion wearable jewelry company, was the first brand that reinforced my theory of connecting to disconnect. Their newest bluetooth collection “Altrius” helps you “better understand your digital habits and improve your relationship with your smartphone.” The modular gemstones alert you to only the notifications you want to be alerted to, freeing your mind and helping you stay focused on “what really matters.”
What really matters? It’s interesting that we don’t place technology in this category but it’s also what we use to manage every move we make throughout the day. I would venture to say that technology is indeed only going to become more robust, and our connection to it will only grow deeper. But I do believe as consumers we will become more sophisticated in this connection, bringing control and purpose to the relationship.
A little secret, the feature photo of this blog post is actually my desktop at work. This photo was taken deep in the Northern Cascades mountain range, on a trip that I took to simply disappear for awhile. Did I leave my phone at home and halt all digital connection like I should have? Of course not. How else would I show people how disconnected I was? As I said, baby steps...
I would be happy to coordinate these baby steps with you all at the FUSE Conference as we deep dive into three days worth of design, technology, and innovation. Perhaps starting the morning with some restorative yoga will help open creative brain space we wouldn’t have discovered? Or a 30-minute meditation during lunch, checking our phones at the door?
I’m open to ideas. But I’m going to keep pushing for yoga.