Too… Many… Notifications…
While the Time Well Spent movement sounds like a weekly gathering of people sipping kombucha and doing yoga in the park (downward dog, anyone), it is actually closely related to the not-so-zen world of Silicon Valley and the design of software and social media applications.
The term Time Well Spent was first coined by a former Google-employee and outspoken critic of Facebook. The movement has sought to draw people away from using social media, claiming we are currently in a “digital attention crisis”, with too many impulses and too much information from all sides.
The main culprits, according to the movement? Facebook, Instagram and other social media apps.
Time Well Spent, while scrolling social media, you mean?
In a somewhat masterful PR move, Mark Zuckerberg has managed to take ownership of the phrase Time Well Spent, claiming that “by focusing on bringing people closer together”, Facebook can help that time is indeed well spent. Zuckerberg is a man of his word, adding features to Facebook and Instagram that help people manage their time on the apps after making this statement.
What exactly are these features? Well, chances are high you are already using them. Facebook and Instagram have translated the Time Well Spent movement into a dashboard that shows how much time you spend on average browsing the apps, the option to limit your screen time on a daily basis with a reminder and the possibility to tune out potentially distracting notifications.
Keep calm and carry on
Are you feeling a bit alarmed, getting through the article up this point and reading terms such as “digital crisis” and initiatives about limiting screen time? Isn’t screen time with users exactly what brands are aiming for in their social media strategies? And isn’t reducing screen time going to impact the cost of advertising on Facebook and Instagram?
These are valid, rational questions that have also popped up in our minds. However, for the time being, we believe there is no reason to panic and shift marketing strategies entirely. After all, the Time Well Spent features are developed by the same company that also benefits from having brands distribute relevant (and sponsored!) content on their channels. Besides that, we have not noticed any decline in engagement up this point.
Additionally – and more importantly, we at Dorst & Lesser strongly feel that social media strategies should always be developed from the user’s point of view. We make sure that the content we create for brands has meaning. Starting each social media strategy from this perspective ensures that time looking at this content is, indeed, well spent.
With the growing awareness of how social media impacts our daily lives, we believe that our content – engaging content that makes people laugh, cry, think or dream – will keep having a place in people’s timeline.