Push Notifications-Beyond Notifications?
Are phone notifications doing more than what they are intended to do?
April 4th, 2019
Imagine you are in the year 2009 and you have an iPhone. You recently updated your phone to iOS 3.0 and you notice a strange popup on your phone stating that you have a message from Jackson.
Isn’t it amazing that your phone is notifying you when you receive a message!?
It is called a push notification and [must have been] invented to save our time by refraining us from checking our apps again and again for new content or to send us updates about important stuff that we shouldn’t miss. But is it really doing the job it was meant to do?
Back then it was a new concept and a breakthrough in the tech-world which enabled developers to communicate directly and instantly with their audience. But in these 10 years, from when they were first introduced, Push Notifications have become so basic that almost every app on our phone and most of the websites use this service. No doubt, that notifications serve a very important purpose of notifying us of important updates but that’s not the only purpose they are fulfilling. There’s a lot more to it which must be addressed.
Be it any app whether messaging/email app, calendar app, online ordering app or even games all generate different kinds of notifications to remind users to use them and keep users engaged with their phones.
One possible explanation of why these apps remind you to use them is the introduction of “Daily Active Users” and “Monthly Active Users” as the most important parameters in the growth of an application-based company. To increase the market share or to secure funding (in case of a start-up) apps need to improve on the above-mentioned parameters which ultimately act as the performance measures of the company. And what other better way would there be to communicate with the users except for push notifications.
But are all the notifications they generate relevant to every user?
Just think about this, how many notifications do you clear in a day either without reading them or not opening the respective app after reading the notifications? Or if I may rephrase it, how many useless notifications do you get in a day as compared to the useful notifications? Many, Right?
Have you ever noticed that when you are hanging out with your friends, then, there is a unanimous mini-break when everyone checks their phone? Yeah!?
Or Have you ever put your phone on vibrate mode and felt that it vibrated even if it didn’t? Yeah!?
Now, you see how engaging these notifications can be and how much they can mess up with your mental health. The only reason we are addicted to our phones is because of these notifications. Most of us start our day by checking the notifications before even getting out of the bed. Imagine a day when you don’t have any notifications when you wake up, won’t you feel a little uncomfortable thinking that you’re missing out on something or something is not right? This curiosity or anxiety is the effect of our increasing phone addiction whose root cause is irrelevant push notifications.
Apps are exploiting the habit of people of keeping useless or rarely used apps installed on their phones by reminding them again and again to use them. As a company, they have the right to promote their product but it is our responsibility to refrain from these distractions and work towards our digital well-being.
Cover Photo Credits: BuildFire