Everybody hates smartphone notifications. They’re interruptive, distracting, annoying, and increasingly less valuable. The signal-to-noise ratio on your average smartphone’s lock screen is completely out of whack. The solution, of course, is to dive into your phone’s settings and turn as many app notifications off as you can. But it’s a constant struggle: every new app you install wants to get on your lock screen and the little pop-up box is all too easy to just say yes to. Ten-ish years into the smartphone revolution, we’re still coming to grips with which things we should allow to interrupt us.
It’s easy to forget as we slog through the repercussions of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, but for the first couple months of the year, the biggest concern in tech spheres wasn’t data privacy, but attention. Notifications are the most visible way that these devices steal our attention — often for reasons that are more related to an app developer’s bottom line than to a genuine need to be notified.
The New York Times, to its credit, placed itself at the epicenter of this discussion earlier this year, with stories like Nellie Bowles’ call for people to turn their ….