In Cashless Sweden, Even God Now Takes Collection Via an App

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In the most cashless society on the planet, even God now accepts digital payments.

A growing number of Swedish parishes have started taking donations via mobile apps. Uppsala’s 13th-century cathedral also accepts credit cards.

The churches’ drive to keep up with the times is the latest sign of Sweden’s rapid shift to a world without notes and coins. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; some shops and museums now only accept plastic; and even Stockholm’s homeless have started accepting cards as payment for their magazine. Go to a flea market, and the seller is more likely to ask to be paid via Sweden’s popular Swish app than with cash.

Be Bored, I Dare You…

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Today, in our cult of productivity, boredom is often viewed as utterly inexcusable — a sin — only committed by the lazy or unsuccessful. Yet it is a vital emotion that helps you cultivate creativity, contemplation, and stillness. It is essential for the mind to be bored.

A couple of weeks back I deleted several apps from my phone: Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, Facebook, among others, in an attempt to force myself to be bored. I’m trying to let go of the things that I would usually use to ‘fill the space.’ I want to learn to be okay with just being.

Here is the list of things I let go of to find more boredom in the everyday

Cool It: You Don’t Have to Be on Every Social Media App

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Are you obligated to try new social media apps? Not at all. Use what you enjoy. Try what you think you’d enjoy. Or don’t. You alone get to map out the borders of your online life. But you are, I think, obligated to stay open to exploring new social media apps—to keep yourself from becoming too jaded, too dismissive—and to always entertain the possibility that one of them might become meaningful and useful to you. I mean, I sunk a lot of time into Friendster back in the day, and I don’t regret it.

A Personal Trainer for Heartbreak

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On the Mend app, users are introduced to an animated avatar of the Mend founder, Ellen Huerta, and her reassuring voice offers guidance on how to move forward, with topics like “detoxing” from your ex; redefining your sense of self — even how to get a better night’s sleep.

“It’s this charming and endearing voice of a friend,” Ms. Scinto said. “And there’s a line, ‘We never get tired of hearing about your breakup,’ and those words are like an oasis in the desert.”

Geri Dugan, who works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Chicago, knows all too well the mixed emotions that come after a love affair ends. After being stunned by a relationship that didn’t work out, she said, she felt like an “emotional basket case.”

Ms. Dugan found Mend through Ms. Huerta’s podcast “Love Is Like a Plant.” Now, for more than eight months, she has been applying Mend’s daily regime, which includes monitoring one’s self-care, journaling exercises, a Spotify playlist and a book club on Good Reads. She has also navigated through difficult days with support from Mend’s Facebook group.

The scientists who make apps addictive

Excerpt from this article (thanks for the link Benoit!):

At the workshop, Fogg explained the building blocks of his theory of behaviour change. For somebody to do something – whether it’s buying a car, checking an email, or doing 20 press-ups – three things must happen at once. The person must want to do it, they must be able to, and they must be prompted to do it. A trigger – the prompt for the action – is effective only when the person is highly motivated, or the task is very easy. If the task is hard, people end up frustrated; if they’re not motivated, they get annoyed.

One of Fogg’s current students told me about a prototype speech-therapy program he was helping to modify. Talking to its users, he discovered that parents, who really wanted it to work, found it tricky to navigate – they were frustrated. Their children found it easy to use, but weren’t bothered about doing so – they were merely annoyed. Applying Fogg’s framework helped identify a way forward. Parents would get over the action line if the program was made simpler to use; children if it felt like a game instead of a lesson.

Frustration, says Fogg, is usually more fixable than annoyance. When we want people to do something our first instinct is usually to try to increase their motivation – to persuade them. Sometimes this works, but more often than not the best route is to make the behaviour easier. One of Fogg’s maxims is, “You can’t get people to do something they don’t want to do.” A politician who wants people to vote for her makes a speech or goes on TV instead of sending a bus to pick voters up from their homes. The bank advertises the quality of its current account instead of reducing the number of clicks required to open one.

When you get to the end of an episode of “House of Cards” on Netflix, the next episode plays automatically unless you tell it to stop. Your motivation is high, because the last episode has left you eager to know what will happen and you are mentally immersed in the world of the show. The level of difficulty is reduced to zero. Actually, less than zero: it is harder to stop than to carry on. Working on the same principle, the British government now “nudges” people into enrolling into workplace pension schemes, by making it the default option rather than presenting it as a choice.

When motivation is high enough, or a task easy enough, people become responsive to triggers such as the vibration of a phone, Facebook’s red dot, the email from the fashion store featuring a time-limited offer on jumpsuits. The trigger, if it is well designed (or “hot”), finds you at exactly the moment you are most eager to take the action. The most important nine words in behaviour design, says Fogg, are, “Put hot triggers in the path of motivated people.”

If you’re triggered to do something you don’t like, you probably won’t return, but if you love it you’ll return repeatedly – and unthinkingly. After my first Uber, I never even thought of getting around Palo Alto any other way. This, says, Fogg, is how brands should design for habits. The more immediate and intense a rush of emotion a person feels the first time they use something, the more likely they are to make it an automatic choice. It’s why airlines bring you a glass of champagne the moment you sink into a business-class seat, and why Apple takes enormous care to ensure that a customer’s first encounter with a new phone feels magical.

The Internet Thinks I’m Still Pregnant

Illustration by Brian Rea

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I hadn’t realized, however, that when I had entered my information into the pregnancy app, the company would then share it with marketing groups targeting new mothers. Although I logged my miscarriage into the app and stopped using it, that change in status apparently wasn’t passed along.

Seven months after my miscarriage, mere weeks before my due date, I came home from work to find a package on my welcome mat. It was a box of baby formula bearing the note: “We may all do it differently, but the joy of parenthood is something we all share.”

I took the box inside and read the congratulatory card that gently urged soon-to-be mothers toward formula feeding. I pulled out the various types of formula and wondered about the nutritional quality of a product that could sit in the sun for hours before being consumed by a brand new life-form.

After packing the formula back into the box, I snapped a picture and texted it to my best friend. “Well, the internet still thinks I’m pregnant,” I wrote. “Maybe the mailman now, too.”

 

 

Is parenting tech making mums and dads more paranoid?

Child showing off artworks

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Mr Songra believes technology is a useful parenting tool, but concedes that it may sometimes interfere with the work of professionals.

“At times it does affect their relations with doctors, because parents become paranoid about their child because of what they searched on Google,” he says.

“The problem is that we tend to believe the content of one link over 100 others, and then take actions based on that knowledge.But we believe all this will surely change with time, as there is going to be more awareness about these issues in the future.”