When I review the research and write about the intersection of human behavior and technology, I’m constantly amazed by how far we’ve come.
In just 5 years, social networks have become not only “all the rage,” but also a must-have for a significant portion of the U.S. population. In just 10 years, video online went from a mess of different, incompatible formats to YouTube and its competitors, revolutionizing the way many people engage with entertainment online (and to a lesser extent, information). In just 15 years, the Internet and technologies it has enabled has transformed not only many people’s workplaces, but the very connectedness and relationships we have with others.
Let that sink in for a few minutes. In just 15 years, a set of technologies has started a trend that won’t be stopped, changing the very ways we communicate and socially interact with others in our lives.
But for as great as it all is — and believe me when I say I still believe in the positive potential of the Internet — it still is leading us down social roads that make no sense.
Take, for instance, the prehistoric era we find ourselves in with smartphone alerts.