The Phones We Love Too Much

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We have an intimate relationship with our phones. We sleep with them, eat with them and carry them in our pockets. We check them, on average, 47 times a day — 82 times if you’re between 18 and 24 years old, according to recent data.

And we love them for good reason: They tell the weather, the time of day and the steps we’ve taken. They find us dates (and sex), entertain us with music and connect us to friends and family. They answer our questions and quell feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

But phone love can go too far — so far that it can interfere with human love — old fashioned face-to-face intimacy with that living and breathing being you call your partner, spouse, lover or significant other.

The conflict between phone love and human love is so common, it has its own lexicon. If you’re snubbing your partner in favor of your phone it’s called phubbing (phone + snubbing). If you’re snubbing a person in favor of any type of technology, it’s called technoference. A popular song by Lost Kings even asks: “Why don’t you put that [expletive] phone down?”

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.

When You Fall in Love, This Is What Facebook Sees

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Facebook might understand your romantic prospects better than you do.

…The company’s team of data scientists announced that statistical evidence hints at budding relationships before the relationships start.

As couples become couples, Facebook data scientist Carlos Diuk writes, the two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease—presumably because the happy two are spending more time together.

For Japan’s ‘stranded singles’, virtual love beats the real thing

Dating sims hold appeal for many young Japanese who face a long wait for a real-life partner.

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

Japan’s apparently waning interest in true love is creating not just a marriage crisis but a relationship crisis, leading young people to forgo finding a partner and resort to falling for fictional characters in online and video games.

New figures show that more than 70% of unmarried Japanese men and 75% of women have never had any sexual experience by the time they reach 20, though that drops to almost 50% for each gender by the time they reach 25.

According to Professor Masahiro Yamada, a sociologist at Chuo University in Tokyo, who has coined the phrase “stranded singles” for the phenomenon, the rise in virginity rates is matched by a rise in the lack of interest in having any kind of “real” relationship.

Recent research by the Japanese government showed that about 30% of single women and 15% of single men aged between 20 and 29 admitted to having fallen in love with a meme or character in a game – higher than the 24% of those women and 11% of men who admitted to falling in love with a pop star or actor.

The development of the multimillion-pound virtual romance industry in Japan reflects the existence of a growing number of people who don’t have a real-life partner, said Yamada. There is even a slang term, “moe”, for those who fall in love with fictional computer characters, while dating sims allow users to adjust the mood and character of online partners and are aimed at women as much as men. A whole subculture, including hotel rooms where a guest can take their console partner for a romantic break, has been springing up in Japan over the past six or seven years.

Married to Their Smartphones (Oh, and to Each Other, Too)

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Sherry Zheng was cleaning up from dinner, ready to toss out the remaining fried rice, when she grabbed her phone from the counter to text her husband, Chris. He was upstairs bathing their three children. “Should I save you the leftovers?”

Her phone vibrated: “Sure.”

Ms. Zheng, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mother in Oakton, Va., describes her marriage as happy, and she’s thankful for those kinds of small conveniences that her smartphone affords her. But like most couples, there are also times, when her husband pecks away at a screen, that she wants to toss his device away with the table scraps.

…“Can’t you just acknowledge me?” she hollered. “I’m standing right here.” Mr. Zheng promptly placed his phone on the table. (Since then, she has made her point a bit more clearly by texting him her questions, even if they’re in the same room, since she knows she’ll get a response.)

We live in a culture of dings, beeps and buzzes, as most people manage everything from bank accounts to fantasy football teams on their smartphones.

Spouses may pout if their partners don’t “like” their every Facebook post, an expectation, for some, of marital boosting. Pull out your device to check the baseball scores while on a date with your wife, and you’re bound to get an eye roll.

Type an actress’s name into IMDb while watching TV and suddenly you’re on a 10-minute bender into the black hole of your screen, distracted by a text or game notification. “Are you even watching?” your husband snaps.

…Experts say that smartphone use is meddling in our marriages in ways that are sometimes benign but often frustrating, causing quarrels and forcing couples to address an ever more important question: At what point are we choosing to spend more time with our smartphones than with our spouses?

 

I Love You, But Our Happiness Doesn’t Fit My Personal Brand’s Narrative Strategy.

McSweeneysBrand.JPG

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If I want to have a strong brand narrative, my “voice” has to be consistent across all distribution channels. So, yes, that does mean captioning Instagram photos of us with “If I had a time machine I would change everything. EVERYTHING.” And yes, that does mean that when I check into our favorite restaurant on Facebook the caption is just that straight-line-mouth emoticon. And, yes again, that even means pinning cross-stitch patterns that say STARING INTO THE ENDLESS BLACK VOID on my Pinterest page. That’s just strong brand equity common sense.