Shielding™ – “It’s not paranoia if something is really out to get you.”™
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s more and more devices become connected, we find ourselves surrounded by an “internet of things” that we just don’t want. The internet no longer resides within the safety of our computers. Almost every device we use in our daily lives now comes fully connected and ready to tweet, snap, and analyze some form of data out to the world. Sure, some of these devices make sense. I don’t mind if my digital camera automatically uploads my photos to my Facebook page or to my Instagram account. However, when my washer and dryer wants access to my twitter feed to let the world know that I’ve just finished a load, I have to stop and wonder—how much connectivity is too much? At a certain point, all this connectivity becomes too much, overwhelms us, and we just want silence.
“Virtual Silence” is a term we use to describe consumers’ growing desire to pull back from connected devices and to find connections in a real way. While corporations and companies tell us that every product we buy needs to help us virtually connect, consumers are fighting back the only way they know how: by completely removing digital devices from their life altogether. Not everyone is ready to completely cut the cord, but consumers are taking note of how digital devices affect their life negatively and are adjusting in different ways.
As new research is released that points towards the negative health effects that digital devices have on our body and mind, companies are beginning to capitalizing on our desire to unplug and connect in more meaningful ways.
Hotel chain Bloomsbury has developed a “Digital Detox” package designed to cleanse your body from the harmful effects of digital life and to recharge our mind from the clutter of our hyper-connected lifestyle.
Paranoia and trust also plays a huge role in consumers desire to take a step back from connected devices. Samsung’s newest televisions come equipped not only with voice recognition software but also a front facing camera. This always-on device has caused some customers to be leery of the “benefits” of connectivity and to cite concerns for invasion of privacy.
Consumers and producers are becoming increasingly aware of how digital devices affect them, both physically and social. For many of us, the overwhelming need to always be connected has created a new need to disconnect from the virtual world and take time to connect with the real one.