Fascinating new research from the World Economic Forum offers more insight about how using mobile apps leaves people feeling — and how moderation can reduce regret:
Here’s the key contention: for many of the apps that people uses the most, there is a time when the law of diminishing returns kicks in, after which time more use begins to leave us with increased regret.
That’s about 20 minutes a day, for Facebook. I do wonder if Facebook’s internal data would show about how happiness changes over time, across different interactions. I suspect more time interacting with friends and less time passively consuming pictures and video is correlated with more positive feeling.
1) intentional use & discipline can have a real impact on someone’s sense of well-being and reported happiness. (That sounds a lot like a doctor recommending a healthy diet and daily exercise, to me. Common sense but not always easy to do.)
2) lots of time spent on some apps are strongly enough associated unhappiness that people struggling with depression should probably delete them if they cannot moderate use.
3) In aggregate, this likely adds up to unprecedented combination of cognitive loads for people who spend a lot off time every day staring at their smartphones (ahem!) which may explain our complex relationship we have constant connectivity.
I think I’ll try to adapt Michael Pollan’s mantra for eating to a healthier “digital diet” this year:
Not too much.