Technological Competition Ruins the Fun.

Now in our generation, we are exposed to fast-developing technology that is rapidly digging into our mobile applications. Meanwhile, cycling is one of the top favoured leisure pursuit, exercise, and mode of transport in the world with the health benefits it provides and requires no accompany to enjoy. In Barratt’s article “Healthy Competition: A qualitative study investigating persuasive technologies and the gamification cycling,” he highlights the advantages and disadvantages of these advancing features of such mobile apps such as Strava, MapMyRide, Garmin Connect, etc. Considering Barratt’s article and personal experience, I believe modern-day programs in technology promotes competition among users and which most foster unhealthy physical and mental behaviours. As intriguing and convenient technology is, it overthrows the natural fun to the world and creates unnecessary competition. 

Just as any other technological devices and programs, convenient, fun, and compelling features are purposely aimed by the creators to attract users to promote frequent use and potentially have us obsessed. With the number of technological materials we have current day along with widespread advertisements for the numerous apps out there, it is easy for us to be sucked in.  Additionally, not only the apps themselves make addiction easy; many fitness apps nowadays are linked to other gears such as fitness watches (e.g; Apple Watches) and primarily promote healthy living altogether.

Providing other examples, social media apps and mobiles themselves ruin real-life experiences. Apps widely used by the teenage and adult population like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., foster unhealthy competition between users with features that account for quantitative validation; likes, views, and retweets. Users obsess about earning more “numbers” than the community over the value of simply sharing their posts with the public. Even simple applications such as cameras and video makers are commonly used at events such as live performances. Users of these apps focus on capturing memories through devices rather than experiencing them through their own eyes. As someone who follows fandoms, I witness realistic examples where fansites often try to capture the most stunning shots of celebrities at concerts so they can out compete other fansites on social media for popularity.

Like how Nelson and Dawson discussed in their article and relating to my past articles: competition generates excitement. Creators in the market know how to manipulate “competition” to see outcomes they desire. Programmers design features that produce competitive behaviour by which involves users obsessively engaging with the apps. As @eternity1870 said: “as long as competition exists, people will have the motivation to be involved” whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously. All of these examples, along with Barratt’s, alert us to focus on things outside of the virtual world

Although it is too late now to abandon these devices and apps with their dominating presence in today’s society, we must realize the enjoyment we can obtain in the absence of them to develop healthier habits and avoid unneeded competition.

IMAGE LINK: https://www.google.com/search?q=teenagers+compete+for+likes&rlz=1C1SQJL_enCA817CA817&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwje9N2RkdTjAhV4HTQIHbUzD3YQ_AUIESgB&biw=1366&bih=576#

REFERENCES: https://mschandorf.ca/2019/07/24/competition-in-election-is-is-really-what-people-want/

7 Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for your response! I really enjoy reading it as you give many persuasive examples in our daily lives! I agree that competitions within apps overthrow natural fun for engaging in real-life activities. I think that might have some similarities with competition within educational practice nowadays in which competitions fail to assess students’ academic achievement in a comprehensive manner and thus lead to superficial, strategic learning. Similarly, competitions within social media apps focus on specific aspect of life, such as physical exercise, foods, travels, etc., and those posts are just fragmented life pieces, which in turn, may also result “superficial” posts for winning the competition, for more likes, shares and popularity. It seems to me that social media featured sharing life are the most culpable for ruining real-life experiences. What do you think of the type of apps or devices that ruin the fun? Or technology in a larger sense?

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  2. Thank you so much for your comment! I definitely agree with everything you have mentioned. I think handheld phones and social media platforms are one of the biggest issues to mental health in people (especially teenagers) nowadays. Now that the teenage population focuses on shallow things such as body image, wealth, beauty, etc., users tend to overlook the actually values behind sharing memorable posts with the public. There should definitely be more awareness on how technology can ruin our health, in general.

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  3. I like your comment about how the fansite you visit constantly try to capture the most stunning photos to lure people in. The ultimate end goal of these companies is to please advertisers and visitors equally. With higher traffic comes more ad revenue. Do you think most websites, including the one you visit, treat their visitors and advertisers equally? Or do you think that they’re geared towards advertisers and just post shocking content to get more clicks onto their site?

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  4. Thank you for your reply! I definitely think that all creators: companies, fansites, programmers, etc., all have a targeted audience. I would argue that in a way, starting from a small and engaged audience has the potential to develop an even bigger community, even if that means slowly. For example; Kpop was originally pop culture only the korean population and small international populations knew about, now it is trending worldwide. I guess my point is that even the biggest trends have to start somewhere.

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