New Year, New You – A Diet Of A Different Kind

In the midst of the usual new year resolutions, whether that be to become a member of the on trend #fitfam brigade or start that clean eating no sugar detox, this year a new diet has come to light as part of the Mindshare UK Trends 2017. The digital diet. With phones and tablets to the forefront of our daily lives not to mention oftentimes an extension of our arm this could be a daunting thought for many!

To put this in context In Ireland according to research carried out by the phone operator ID irish people check their phone up to 160 times per day, in addition to this people have Amazons Alexa, tablets, desktops and smart TVs into the mix people are becoming overwhelmed with the amount of technology that they have at their fingertips and struggle to switch off. The Mindshare UK Trends 2017 highlight that ‘attention spans are getting shorter. People are losing focus.’

Below details some digital remedies and examples that could soon become the norm to combat the digital overload.

  • Off Time - a phone setting that blocks and filters communications on smartphone with settings such as work, family or ‘me time’ to eliminate distractions.
  • Venues (e.g. restaurants and bars) have come up with a novel way of getting people to interact by blocking phone signal so that ‘people socialise with the people they are with than who they are not with’.  Locally in Galway Whiskey Joes there was a pub offering an incentive of free drinks for those that put their phone away.
  • Fancy a holiday without the latest Facebook or LinkedIn post, Its Time to Log Off is a travel company that specialises in digital detox retreats -
  • FLIPD is an app that locks your phone for a set period of time which can’t be reset once enabled
  • Charities have tapped into the digital diet. In the UK Save the Children had a ‘Phoneless Friday’ campaign whereby people had to sign up to go phone free for 24 hours to raise money.
  • On good example of a brands working in this space is Dolmio. They introduced the Dolmio Pepper Hacker to highlighting the importance of family time. What looks like an ordinary pepper grinder is a device that has hidden technology and lets parents turn off Wi-Fi routers, mobile phones and TVs to bring their families closer together when having a meal.
  • Freedom - a browser tool that works across multiple devices allowing users to disable internet connection for a set period
  • The Light Phone – not dissimilar to a remote control that connects to your smartphone of which only allows users to make and receive calls and to tell the time
  • The Mindshare UK Trends 2017 report has touched on that ironically for the most part we will be turning to technology to manage the use of technology.  Going forward the report highlights that ‘There will be an increasing demand for tech that encourages human contact and communication, tech that educates and enlightens and tech that makes the most of the outside ‘offline’ world around us. Eventually we will struggle to see ‘on’ and ‘offline’ experiences as separate entities as they will seamlessly integrate. This maybe how digital dieting manifests itself; not by cutting down on its use but by using it for more constructive purposes such as outdoor education, fitness or to enhance real world experiences.’

Looking to brands and how this will impact them?

Brands will need to get the balance right in their communications. Avoid reliance on people constantly being connected and side step the notion of going too negative on digital too. ‘Provide ways to enhance real world experiences with technology and provide people with experiences away from their normal routine. Be a brand that facilitates digital diets.’