Tag Archives: twitter

Hype cycle of life

I’ve had a few days recently when I’ve been without my phone. This made me realise how I use social media to fill all the little gaps in the day when I’d rather scroll than think or look or talk. (Introverts unite!)

Over the years, I have been subjected to many people explaining the Gartner Hype Cycle  to me. It’s *a thing* if you work in digital/technology. They use it to show how we are all sucked in to new tech, get disappointed, then shrug our shoulders and use it more sensibly. It is represented by a bendy chart like this:


The Gartner Hype Cycle

I tried to review my own use of social media using the Hype Cycle’s five phases of a technology’s life cycle…

Technology Trigger: “A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity.”

Me: Started it/went back on it because I’m feeling strong. Technology will not control me. I can stop when I want to. It’s fun. Wheeee!!

Peak of Inflated Expectations: “Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures.”

Me: Oh it’s so shiny. A lovely portal in to pictures of excellent hair, architectural fruit platters, artistic shoelaces on amusing tablecloths, outlandishly refined pencil storage vessels.

Trough of Disillusionment: “Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver.”

Me: What have I learned from the last 74 posts I scrolled through? Clean eating is both a joke and a serious food phobia. Everyone I know, or do not know, or should know, has more than me. More culturally diverse holidays, more whimsical children, more successful and publicly affectionate partners, more innovative recipes using avocado, birch water and food-grade iron filings.

Slope of Enlightenment: “More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood.”

Me: Have accepted that my abdominal muscles will only be *that* defined if I use a bold permanent pen and glitter glue. Realise that taking a little peek in to the lives of friends and family is better than closing the door. A family reunion is three generations + Mark Zuckerberg in a blue room.

Plateau of Productivity: “Mainstream adoption starts to take off. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.”

When I can’t be bothered making small talk amongst unknown school parents, I can pretend that Twitter is my work email.

Here’s one I wrote earlier

The invasion of the attention-snatchers Using technology mindfully.  Does that sound like a phrase created by rich young white men in grey organic bamboo t-shirts? Turns out that I‘ve actually been doing it for years…  I wasn’t trying to be mindful, I just don’t like technology telling me what to do.

Using tech for good, not evil  I was running a little quiz and a guy made a joke about looking up answers on his phone. Him: But you’re a digital person aren’t you? It’s technology! Me: I believe in technology for good, and not evil.

The invasion of the attention-snatchers

Using technology mindfully.  Does that sound like a phrase created by rich young white men in grey organic bamboo t-shirts? Turns out that I‘ve actually been doing it for years…  I wasn’t trying to be mindful, I just don’t like technology telling me what to do.

This morning, while mindlessly Twitter-scrolling during the kids’ swimming lessons, I found some people with interesting job titles explaining why and how to take control of our technology.

The rebirth of calm

I found this article first: The rebirth of calm: Why we need technology with manners.  Amber Case, who is a Cyborg Anthropologist (!!) talks about why technology needs to be less intrusive and more polite.

“… fancy computerised replacements threaten to overcomplicate the tiniest details of life. Imagine a fridge or an AI-studded fruit bowl that texts you when one of your bananas is rotting. That might sound nice, but Case points out that a banana already comes with a custom technology that lets you know it’s going bad: “It’s a peel,” she says.”

Time Well Spent

That first article led me to this website: Time Well Spent. They are a bunch of designers who want technology help us spend our time well. They have a manifesto (of course they do), but it makes sense.

“We believe in the possibility of better design, that lets us connect without getting sucked in. And disconnect, without missing something important.”

They also have a video of a TED talk (of course they do).

Mindful smartphones

From there I ended up reading about mindful phone use: Distracted in 2016? Reboot Your Phone with Mindfulness I can’t tell if the author Tristan Harris wears bamboo sweaters, but I do know that he used to be a Product Philosopher(!!) at Google.

His article is well worth the estimated reading time of 11 minutes and 28 seconds.  It has some simple tips on how to use your phone when you need to, and not be tempted by those shiny pretty colourful apps.

“We live in an Attention Economy. That means every app and website … is trying to get you to come back and spend more time. Companies literally have teams of people called Growth Hackers, whose job is to invent new reasons (notifications) and new persuasive tactics to bring you back.”

I don’t think that we are weak or stupid, but there are just much smarter people whose jobs are to keep us app-happy and alert-addicted.

Lessons learned

  1. We have limited capacity to pay attention. Technological fun is unlimited. It’s not a fair fight, so we have to try harder.
  2. If you use frog legs instead of dolphin kicks while doing butterfly arms , the swimming teacher gets annoyed.
  3. I was right to turn off my email, app and phone notifications. Last night, my husband had an enjoyable drink with my boss because I was finishing something in the office and hadn’t seen his messages. The world didn’t end, and I joined them a bit later.
  4. Job titles are much more interesting than they used to be.


Here’s one I wrote earlier

Using tech for good, not evil. I was running a little quiz and a guy made a joke about looking up answers on his phone.

Slightly ranting about kids, technology, good and evil. I can’t decide. Internet = evil cesspit of narcissistic idiots chatting to gambling-addicted paedophiles? Or Internet = global community of inspiring humanity sharing knowledge and joy?

Make your own laptop I was in one of those over-priced Belgian cafes, filled with equal quantities of rustic wooden furniture and jars of chocolate spread.

Retardex – not as stupid as it sounds

I was very rude to someone last week. And I did it impulsively on Twitter, so it’s up there for all to see.

Actually, I was very rude to a suite of oral care products, rather than a warm body… but it still made me feel a teeny bit guilty, when they replied very politely.

Me (flippantly) on Twitter: Retardex is an awful product name. Is it aimed at stupid people with bad breath?

Retardex marketing person (nicely): we know it’s not the best name, but visit http://www.retardex.co.uk/why-name-retardex for the history. Nearly 500k customers in the UK though 🙂

The response from Retardex was fast, appropriate, and minty-fresh. (As they have a page explaining their unfortunate brand name, I can see that I am not the first person to comment.)

It’s not you. Wait a minute, yes it is …

Having recently moved countries, I am still in the boring set-up phase. I’ve been quite shouty on the phone with various phone, bank and TV companies.

And each time I have upset my assigned customer service representative. A typical exchange might be:

Me (shouty) on the phone: I don’t know why I’m calling. I called because you keep sending me text messages to call you. Why don’t you know who is sending these messages? Your message doesn’t tell my why I need to call. Can you stop these messages?

Customer service representative (annoyed and a bit snippy now): It wasn’t ME…

Me (shouty and interrupting): OK. Of course. Not YOU – it’s the system, the process, the computers, the morally bankrupt society without strong gender-appropriate role models! Just fix it.

So, weirdly, I feel a bit silly for being rude to some expensive toothpaste, but not at all guilty at making friendly Fiona or smiling Sam hate their jobs.

Where do you go when you press Home?

Does your life have a ‘Home’ button? I’m back home (Sydney) after a brief visit to London (new home). My old house is empty and my new house is waiting for me. I’ve never been very attached to a particular location.  Home is wherever I am with my own little family.

Technology is helping to create a homesickness prevention barrier. I’ve made heartfelt promises to email, Skype, tweet and update many many people. And when I have time, I will even put pen to paper.

I am a busy body

The busier I am, the less time I have to tell people how busy I am. Twitter and Facebook are not part of my core communications strategy matrix. (Can you tell I used to work in an agency?)

Some of the things I might have mentioned if I’d been social online in the last weeks:

• Black cabs only take cash? WTF?
• I may have missed the wedding, but I do have a Catherine & William commemorative Oyster card.
• The estate agent looks young enough to be my son. His suit has too many nifty seams to be professional.
• Camden Market is horrible. Too many giant horse-themed sculptures.
• Kids would rather smash gravel with hammers than talk to me on phone.
• Want to take video of the local streets, but worried that I look creepy.
• I got little pile of crisps/ chips with my sandwich! One of the major reasons for moving to the UK…
• Have never asked to move seats on a plane because of another passenger’s smell. Until now. I was very discreet.
• First words from son upon my return: “My snot is the same colour as your top.” I did get a hug after that though.

Show me your private parts

Pre-digital privacy was such a clear concept:

  • Teenage diary with “Keep Out. Private.” written on the cover
  • Letters addressed to you
  • Your phone calls made at home, in a room with the door shut
  • Holiday photos stuck in a photo album.

I’m making my own decisions about what I share with people I’ve never met (like some of you dear readers).

My private parts

  • My location. I don’t want everyone to know where I am all of the time. And I can’t be bothered doing it. Or constantly reading about what supermarket you are in.
  • My kids. Hmmm… I’m just not sure about putting my kids’ details and pictures out on the public web. They are, of course, very photogenic and clever and amusing. Maybe when they’re older, and able to actively consent to it, I can make them famous.
  • Facebook. Many years ago, my best friend’s mum read her diary – a serious breach of schoolgirl diary protocol. Do the modern youth also feel so protective about their status updates?
  • Religion. I prefer not to discuss my god, gods, gurus or higher powers. I’m still working it out.
  • Domestic arguments. Some neighbours had a long-running domestic breakdown in their backyard. It was messy and noisy and painful to listen to.

My public parts

  • The bathroom. In a small house with small kids, our bathroom is just another room. It’s not unusual for all of us to be in the bathroom at the same time – one in the shower, one on the toilet and the others just chatting. Family time.
  • Twitter. I’m on it. Follow me @lorrainel if you wish, but I can’t guarantee the quality of my tweets!
  • This blog. I started “A life less digital” because I had so many thoughts whirling through my mind, and not enough people to rant to. I just have to remember that anyone in the world can read my blog. Greetings to my former colleagues and potential employers.
  • My name. Lorraine Leung. I’m not using a pseudonym because this is my blog about my thoughts. Good blogs reflect the personality and passion of real people. I’m not a poor student being paid $2 per blog article. Promise.

Here’s one I wrote later…

Pictures of my kids, or not? My kids are too attractive to put pictures of them in my blog. Their beauty and grace would make you weep tears of joyous wonder over your keyboard, rendering you unable to see or type.

Brought to you by the Interweb – My 1920s name

I grew up thinking I was unique, but if you Google me, there are quite a few of me around. Other Lorraine Leungs seem to have better careers and more friends than I do.

According to the Namevoyager, my name ‘Lorraine’ was most popular in the 1920s.

I am, like, so not popular

I am not a very popular person. I only have:

  • 90 Facebook friends (although if I friended my mum and all my uncles, aunts, cousins and their spouses I’d probably double that). [Update: As at 7 April 2011, I have 100 FB friends.]
  • 29 Twitter followers (because I struggle to tweet anything very interesting)
  • 83 LinkedIn connections (no recruiters please).

Assuming some of these people are the same, then I am well within Dunbar’s number of 150 ie 150 is the most amount of people that you can maintain stable social relationships with.

I’m still applying the old world rules to the online world – friends are people who I’ve met in person. I know that’s not what the cool people do, but I’m just a bit old-fashioned.

A year in 9 minutes

This week an old friend of mine called me up to apologise for not getting in touch for ages – almost a year in fact. Seems like I’d run out of ‘let’s catch up’ appointments in my diary.

Our 9 minute phone call was brief but brilliant. Instant download on each other’s lives and the sound of laughter as we shared stories of our children’s dysfunctional bowels and bottoms. I’m so glad she didn’t just send me a text message with LOL.

The kindness of strangers

I’m a bit wary of strangers online. And in real life, I’m trying to explain the subtle difference between nice strangers and bad strangers to the kids. For example:

  • Very Old shrunken aunt with scratchy green cardigan and unusual facial hair at a family reunion – nice
  • Smelly man with trousers done up with string, outside the train station, holding a half empty vodka bottle, offering you oranges – bad.

When I was backpacking around Europe with my best friend during uni, we trusted our gut instinct when deciding if strangers were nice or bad. We had mostly wonderful experiences. I find it harder to make that instinctive risk assessment online.

I have vivid memories of kind strangers on our trip. One night in Paris, my friend and I, plus a perky Canadian with jangly earrings, were waiting for a very very early train. To save money, we didn’t book a hotel. It was January, and freezing, and as more and more places closed for the night, we realised that we had made a mistake. Paris was getting a bit creepy, rather than romantic. And we really needed to wee.

Eventually, we found a little hotel that had some lights on. To our amazement, the night porter unlocked the door and let us in. (We were amazed that he understood our frozen mangled French…) He was definitely breaking the rules, letting us and our gigantic backpacks in, so we were very quiet and very grateful.

When we were  preparing to go back outside, the night porter ushered us over to some couches and told us that we could rest there. In minutes, we had all dozed off. As promised, he woke us up an hour before our train was due out, then gave us fresh croissants and pots of yoghurt to take with us. We whispered our heartfelt thanks, and he locked the door behind us.

I don’t believe I’ve many a comparable online experience. Since I’m so unpopular (and quite wary) online, I don’t meet many strangers there. Maybe I need an iPhone app for a virtual ‘gut instinct’?

Brought to you by the InterWeb – Chatroulette for animals

I never understood the appeal of Chatroulette for humans. But maybe it makes more sense having Animal Roulette for pets?