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Ricardo Mendes

Notifications Slavery versus Attention Ecology #android #privacy #attention #notifications

5 min read

This post was born from reading indieweb channel logs and this @t post about twitter email as I was reflecting on how I avoid to get overdosed by notifications, alerts, emails, sounds that ultimately eat my energy and time for nothing. 

I'm mostly writing about how I configure my android 6/CM13 device to control much more of "how my phone can disrupt me" or not and I tend to apply this to how I organize myself between my desktop and my mobile devices.

Email Ecology : Turn OFF all emails (less technical or administrative) coming from everywhere. 

Most of the time I check my apps enough already. 

Most of the time these email digest of notifications are useless. 

Most of the time I literally see new activity right from the app. 

There should be a difference between an email I choose to receive (a nice curation of great articles for example) and auto-email sent by services such as Facebook or Twitter or G+ that simply do no add anything of value beside occupying email quota and using unnecessary ressources. 

Attention Ecology : 

Choose what app, what contact can ring you & actually disrupt you from what you're doing. 

Put people in groups so you can easily configure groups of people ringtone or notification sound for SMS or IM. 

 

Turn OFF sound notifications for every apps on your phone. Turn OFF vibrations. 

 

Enjoy the silence. Enjoy not being disrupted when your device/services want your attention, 

Instead choose when to give your attention to your device/services. 

Organize :

Make lists on Twitter or Facebook or using your RSS feed reader,  so that you can bypass the noise and give more value to real signal of information with less cluttered overdosed mix of everything you follow. 

Split your interests by lists or categories in your RSS feed reader so that when you need to know about something or you want more information on something you lurked on Twitter, you can just search it on your river of news and get the information you want without loosing time or having to scroll down a pile of noise to get what you wanted. 

The more your information is split by topics but accessible and organized, the quicker you can find the signal you search and get things done. 

Privacy : 

With Android6/CM13 the first time you open an app you can decide what permissions you give to the app about : location, contacts, media, etc..some apps won't work with some permissions disabled but tons of apps don't need your location or contact to work, you can disable it and still have a nice popup to show up when you actually want to give your location for some reason (check in et..) actually reversing the scenario where it is you who decide what to give and when to give it. this should be by design, people shouldn't have to root/flash their devices to finally be able to own them. but that's another story for another post. 

Apps : 

I use Greenify pro on my rooted devices to get an advanced control of what app can wake-up, check network, do background data check etc...this app also allows you do "greenify" all the apps that launch themselved up (just because there is Wi-Fi or because there is a data connection) with Greenify you can hibernate all the apps you occasionally use and have them one finger away without having them to suck up your battery or do unwanted check without your authorization. 

The moment I lock my phone Greenify will hibernate all the apps that I choose to, leaving my device cold and ready & silent for when I need it. 

Unless wanted, apps should not go on by themselves and eat your data plan without you actually paying attention to all the content streaming through all these apps. it makes no sense. if you really have to check something that happened 2h ago, you still can no matter if your app loaded it while it happened or if you have to fetch it from scratch because your device was sleeping. 

if you really want to follow something happening right now in real-time, well you can just open the app, let it refresh with new content, pick a hashtag and follow the stream because you decide it. 

Ultimately Android & its app ecosystem should be redesigned to have privacy and user control at the center of the process instead of farming users to constantly check their notifications, their battery, their phone. 

What are your habbits regarding Attention Ecology & the usage of your phone or tablet ? 

Do you have any tips to find a better balance between
the use of technology versus technology using ourselves ?

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