Snapchat recently announced that along with changing the company’s name from Snapchat to Snap Inc. that it will also start selling sunglasses, called Spectacles, which have the ability to record videos that can be transferred to your phone using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It wasn’t that long ago that in order to connect or upload something to the internet you needed to be sitting down in front of a computer. But with the wonders of modern technology, there now exist a plethora of devices that allow users access to the internet. According to Global Web Index the average consumer has 3.64 connected devices.
The introduction of Spectacles and similar technology including smart TVs, smart watches, and tablets pose an important question. How far will this trend continue? How long until virtually every object in a room will be a portal to the digital world? It is happening already. Books are no longer just read on the printed page, but rather on the electronic screen of a Kindle, where people can download books as they please. Watches no longer just tell the time, but also post to your Facebook wall how far you just ran. Even as I type this I’m using my lamp to charge my phone.
(Image from Google’s advanced image search)
People now have multiple ways to go online. What started out with computers and then phones has since evolved to encompass many more connected devices that grant owners access to the digital world. Many of you may be asking “So what? Who cares if I have more options to choose from when going online?” Well you should. All these different ways to enter the digital world are also making it harder to escape. While writing this blog post I have gotten distracted by a number of text notifications on my phone and email and update notifications on my laptop beckoning me to the digital world.
Whether it’s the vibration of your phone laying on your bed, the sound of receiving an email on the laptop on your desk, or even a notification on your wrist alerting you to how much a friend just ran, it is becoming increasingly harder to remain solely in the real world. All these connected devices are dividing our presence and attention between two worlds, the real world and the digital world, making it difficult to be completely focused in the real world.
Laptops, while portable, can be put away. Phones can be silenced and put in a pocket. But with smart watches, it’s going to be hard to look at the time without wanting to check in on what other notifications you might have. And with Snap Inc.’s Spectacle sunglasses, the portal to the online world is literally right before your eyes, making the transition to the digital world hard to resist. With wearable connected devices you carry the temptation of entering the online world wherever you go.
Now, I’m not saying that we should only have one device to connect us to the digital world. I’m simply stating the importance of being cognizant of the portals to the digital world that are all around so you can take the necessary steps to reduce the distractions these devices provide; especially when it comes time to focus on what’s at hand in the real world. But there might also come a time when the sheer number of connected devices makes it impossible to escape the online world, leaving us stuck between two worlds, never completely in either.