Changes that modern technologies bring: is cycling becoming more competitive or cooperative?

Competition can be seen in many kinds of situations and competition itself is evolving as the policy, technology, and society evolves. The article written by Barratt (2016) introduces the new technology, mobile apps, which allow users record and upload their cycling data and compete with other users. As the results of their research show that these mobile apps can promote enjoyment and motivation so that users are motivated to cycle more, I begin to question myself whether those apps make cycling more competitive or cooperative which results in motivation of cycling. Finally, I have convinced myself that cycling is becoming more competitive and cooperative, that using mobile apps helps building connection between cyclists.

Among all the cyclists that have been questioned during the research, many of them have given positive feedback of using those mobile apps. In the article, the author mentions one the cyclist’s reply, that beating some other cyclist who has higher record in the app would make him/her feel great. By gamification process, cyclists are motivated to achieve higher goals and to compete with others. Bringing healthy competition is an important part of these mobile apps; however, cooperation is another meaning behind the scene. Bateson(2016) mentioned in her article that she suggested people to live as part of a larger system. Human are born to be independent; however, as the society develops, human are more and more dependent and they become rely on each other. Interdependence is the trend and social apps is the carrier of the trend, that these apps build stronger and stronger connections between individuals. If we go back to Barratt’s article, he also discuses the similar topic that mobile apps used by the cyclists make them part of a larger group. These apps build connections between cyclists that they cooperate to achieve the same goal of being health. Thus, cycling is becoming more and more cooperative and competitive.

Similar to @poormswang mentioned in he/she’s article that competition is a win-or-lose scenario and people refuse to compete. Those mobile apps provides the cyclists a chance of cooperate to achieve their shareable goal, which is to be health. Also, this idea can be related to Molina et al.’s (2017) article. They mentioned hunter-gatherer model, in which people are cooperating to achieve greater goals in a group instead of competing as different individuals, and they compete as a group. Also, they stated that competition and cooperation can coexist. Cyclists who use those mobile apps that mentioned in Barratt ‘s (2016) article, can be seen as a large group, and they compete to achieve higher record, as well as cooperate to achieve healthier lives, and this idea can be seen as the opposite of hunter gatherer model introduced by Molina et al (2017).


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