All of us are consumers of innumerable products online and offline, every day of our lives. As humans, we naturally associate ourselves with these products and attach emotions to them. I am sure each of us have a certain usage pattern of the products we consume. All of these products evoke a certain emotion in us. Thus creating dependencies. I have been thinking about the dependencies we create for ourselves while using these products or otherwise. I have also been wondering about the impact these products have on us to change our behaviour patterns.
There have been many products that have impacted my life. I have over-indulged in some of them. Some have been sheer conveniences in my life.
When i had to fly with my infant child the first time ever, i was particular about flying a certain airline, as i trusted them. I thought they cared. It was their offering and the way they conducted themselves that made me have that dependency that my infant will fly safe with them!
I feel wanted, special and cared for when i hold an apple product in my hand or interact with one. It’s the sheer design and finess that its products exude that makes me trust it. The belief is that irrespective, the brand cares & will have built something special for my benefit. I am a blind apple products user for ages now.
For a long time i wore a certain Nike sandals which were near to bearfoot stuff you get these days, but the most comfortable pair of footwear anyone could wear. I have not found sandals that suit me as much till date. But slip into unhappiness even till date when i remember that product and dislike the fact that they dont make them anymore! Sigh.
Google Apps is another product that i am dependent on. Love the convenience that it offers for startups. Simple, yet life changing additions. It is more like people building these features were watching my expressions and experiences to tailor made simple additions for me. Be it the undo sent mail feature or the did you mean Sean instead of Shaun feature.
Twitter of course is a huge emotional punch bag for many of us, including me. Its a one way broadcast many a times for me to vent my anger, frustrations, etc. besides that other informative things it offers and i give back.
Inboxwhiz is a browser plugin for google mail that helps me stay in control emotionally. I am an compulsive email checker. More like, who the hell will mail me earth shattering information at 3 am? I am compulsive! So inboxwhiz helps me here. Its like a floodgate. I can determine when i’d like inboxwhiz to push mails to my inbox. Till such time it’ll withhold my mails from reaching my inbox. Initially, i was an emotional wreck almost, but now i am getting used to the fact that inboxwhiz holds my mails to show them to me thrice a day.
I have been testing a to-do app code named ‘Tyler’. Its stupid simple to use and i have figured out that any thing i need to do, if i tell tyler he’ll get it done! Thats more like blind faith. Thats a huge dependency i have, as i have begun to believe that Tyler App is the best way to handle to-dos and act on them.
Now, as i indulge in all these products happily. There is one thought that shakes me off my skin – what if they decide to shut shop? Wrap up? Change it completely? What if? (I have goosebumps typing this line out, imagine if they actually said – thanks for being a great user, but its bye-bye time!)
More recently we have seen a few good products bite the dust. Tungle, Posterous, Summly and Google Reader. Imagine, if facebook sent you that bye-bye mail? What’ll happen to all those people who you think you are in touch with coz they are on facebook? What’ll people who use it 12 times a day on their phones do? It’ll be chaos, mayhem almost!
Though I am emotionally charged and anxious as i write about this. It intrigues me to know the impact such incidents have on the user’s mind, emotions, behaviour? I am assuming its like waking up one day to realize that the imaginary friend you played with most of your childhood was not there any more. Happens when you grow-up suddenly! It’s like how the narrator realized that Tyler Durden was his imagination in Fight Club. I am sure, its like losing a close friend, a relative or a pet.
Living in a voraciously consumerist society, we are breeding many abnormalities through the products we build for all of us to consume. I am sure we are getting more and more emotionally dependent on gadgets, web products and other physical products that give us the emotional satisfaction whilst we use them. As, it will break our hearts, make us more insecure, push us to depression and perhaps product separation rehabilitation – who knows?
So, have you had a product heartbreak yet? What’s it like? OR do you think i am over-reacting? Your thoughts would be great to have as inputs.