Cell phones have come a long way. Back in the day, they were the size of bricks—remember the Zack Morris phone?!—and their only purpose was to make calls (and, let’s be real, even that cost an arm and a leg).
Fast forward to today, and we’re all walking around with supercomputers in our pockets. Everything we could ever want and need is just a few taps or swipes away. Which can be a blessing—or, if you’re me, a curse.
For years, I’ve been a slave to my phone: checking my email every 30 seconds, scrolling through social media at every break, falling into random Wikipedia holes when I should be getting to sleep. The way I used my phone wasn’t just unproductive—it was actually keeping me from living the kind of life I wanted to live.
So when the clock struck midnight on January 1st, I committed to trying the distraction-free phone so I could kick my phone addiction and lead a more present, connected life.
It’s been about seven weeks—and, at the risk of sounding cliché, it’s kind of changed my life. How, you might ask? Let’s take a look at what it was like to go distraction-free and the impact it’s had on my business, productivity, and overall well-being.
What Is a Distraction-Free Phone?
A few months ago, I stumbled upon Jake Knapp’s Medium article that outlined his addiction to mobile technology—and, more importantly, how he adjusted his cell to be more present for himself, his kids, and his career. He’s been rocking his distraction-free phone for six years and found new levels of personal and professional success as a result.
I related to Knapp on so many levels and was super inspired by his story. So I decided that my New Year’s resolution would be to follow in his footsteps.
Here’s how I adjusted my iPhone to go from “attention-sucking” to “distraction-free”:
(Got an Android phone? No problem, you can go distraction-free, too! Check out this how-to guide to get started.)
Now, I could’ve tossed every app on my phone, but for this experiment, I only deleted things that were distracting—and kept useful apps that didn’t suck up a ton of my time (for example, Google Maps and Spotify).
Once I deleted all the notorious attention grabbers from my phone, I figured the transition would be easy; if my phone didn’t have anything on it to distract me, how could it be distracting?
Yeah… I was wrong.
I’ve spent years behaving as though my phone were surgically attached to my hand; it didn’t matter that there was nothing on my phone to check—checking my phone was like a muscle reflex.
The first few days, I compulsively picked up my phone just as often as I had when it was chock full of distractions. But there wasn’t really anything to hold my attention (other than pictures of my dog—which I definitely spent more than a few minutes scrolling through).
It took about a week for it to sink in that checking my phone wasn’t going to give me the “reward” of distraction that I was used to. And once it sunk in? Everything started to change.
The Adjustment Period
After that first week of obsessive phone checking, I could feel my phone addiction starting to lose its grip. I first noticed a shift one day when I was watching an episode of The Great British Baking Show.
Normally, when I watch television—even if it’s a series I love as much as this one—I’m really only half (or a quarter) watching; the bulk of my attention is directed toward email and social media feeds on my screen. This kind of multitasking means I don’t ever really absorb what I’m seeing—and end up rewatching the same episodes over and over before anything (the recipes, the challenges, the winner) commits to memory.
But this time, I made it the entire hour (that’s the signature challenge, the technical, and the showstopper) and didn’t even think to look at my phone. Not only did I enjoy the experience more, but I was also able to follow what I was watching (and learned some great tips for making meringue as a result).
Now, it seems like a small thing. But for me, being fully present for an entire hour of television felt like a pretty big deal. I got a taste of what life could be like if I wasn’t attached to my phone all the time—and, as Mary Berry would say, it was scrummy.
After that, I started leaving my phone behind, first for a few minutes at a time (like when I walked my dog) and then for larger, more significant chunks (like when I was pushing through a deadline). By the end of January, I became so comfortable not having my phone with me, I’d keep it at home when my husband and I went out for dinner, to run errands, or to take our pup to the dog park—and I ended up enjoying all those things even more than usual.
It’s been a little over a month since I started this experiment, and the payoff has been pretty amazing. I feel more present, I get more done, and I feel like I’m being more purposeful with my time. I know those are pretty broad terms (and sound like something you’d read in a self-help book)—so let’s dig deeper into how, exactly, my life has changed.
How the Distraction-Free Phone Impacted My Business and Productivity
How the Distraction-Free Phone Impacted My Life and Well-Being
So, clearly, I’m on Team Distraction-Free Phone. But that doesn’t mean this experience hasn’t had its drawbacks.
The biggest challenge? While I definitely feel more present in my day-to-day life, I don’t feel as connected to the people, places, and things I don’t interact with on a daily basis. I don’t feel as on top of news and current events (if I want to know what’s going on in the world, I can’t just look down at my phone—I need to actively seek that out on my laptop or the TV), and because I don’t have my phone next to me as often, I can miss text conversations as they happen in real time. I’ve given my friends, family, and colleagues a heads-up about my phone situation, but I still feel bad when I get back to my phone and have a bunch of missed texts.
But at the end of the day, none of them even compare to the massive benefits (seriously—no one’s going to lose sleep if it takes me an hour to respond to a text).
Tips for Going Distraction-Free
Want to get your phone use under control? Here are my top suggestions based on my experience these past couple months:
I’ve been going strong with the distraction-free phone for almost two months, and honestly, I can’t see myself ever going back. The benefits —like feeling more in control of my business, my time, and my life—are beyond worth the minor inconveniences.
And if I ever get the urge to fall down a Wikipedia hole? There’s always my laptop.
People would rather be on their phones than engage with other people
I'm sitting in a coffee shop right now that overlooks a busy four-way stop at an intersection. I keep seeing people drive by, and as they roll to a stop, they look down at their phones, only to let off the brake and continue on their merry way, sometimes with their phone still in hand.
All I can think is, “Why, for crying out loud, is it so necessary to check your phone for two seconds?!” But then I remember that this is not the only situation where this behavior occurs, and smartphone addiction isn’t exactly a recent development. I recently wrote about deactivating my Facebook account because of how it interfered with my daily life, but I think the issue goes even further than that.
I see this problem every day with my students in the classroom. If you haven’t been around a school lately, I’ll paint you a picture: droves of teenagers walking down a hallway, most with their earbuds in while looking down at their phones. I take delight in stepping in front of them just so they can awkwardly bump into me because they aren’t paying the least bit of attention. “You shouldn’t text and walk,” I tell them half-laughing, half-serious, but they can’t hear me. Even worse, I see some students in the classroom who have a compulsive connection to their phones. I’ve had to take phones away simply because some students genuinely can’t seem to put them down.
Adults are no better. I look around during after-school meetings and at least half of my colleagues are on their phones, completely ignoring the presenter. I too have been guilty of this. I used to jump from app to app to check the latest updates and scroll mindlessly through my feeds, looking for something more “entertaining” than the real world. But was anything I was doing necessary? Definitely not.
And of course we’re all too familiar by now with the modern hangout or dinnertime scene: a bunch of friends or family members in the same room all looking at their phones. Even more sad than these scenarios, however, is what I saw on TV two weeks ago. It was a news story by the local media in which the reporter interviewed a group of children about how they feel when their parents spend a lot of time on their phones. The parents watched the conversation from another room and reacted in shock when most of the kids confessed that they often felt ignored or, even worse, that the child was afraid to interrupt the parent and make them angry. Needless to say, there is a major problem in our society that all of us need to address.
It’s been more than a decade since smartphones and tablets first appeared. Since then, humans have been completely glued to their devices. On the one hand, the technology does make daily life easier and more convenient, but on the other hand, people have become too accustomed to using tech merely as outlets to escape the real world and the people around us. Check out the pictures in this article by the Huffington Post and you’ll see the problem very clearly: People would rather be on their phones than engage with other people.
I wanted to do some digging to find out just how addicted we are. I found a study that showed smartphone users spend an average of 140 minutes on their phones each day, unlocking them more than 70 times and touching them more than 2,600 times total! I was shocked at first; I know I fall into the average user category, and it’s appalling to think how much wasted time that adds up to in an entire year of smartphone addiction.
As Sherry Turkle, an MIT psychologist and author of the book Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, writes, “The way I like to put it is technology can make us forget what we know about life. One of the things it’s made us forget is that we need to tend to our relationships and other people and our own feelings.”
Turkle’s advice is spot-on. We need to take time away from our devices to actively engage with the people around us and cultivate better relationships, as humans were genetically programmed to do. Equally important, we need to tend to our own feelings, because so many of us don’t even realize the anxiety and stress that being addicted to our smartphone is creating in our lives.
I know this, because I was that person.
I used to care so much about my social media presence. I wanted to post the perfect pictures with the perfect filters and the perfect caption. Then I had to check — constantly — and monitor the response from my followers, thereby validating my social media worth. I used to keep up with group text message conversations and try to plan the next hangout while I was in the middle of work. I used to scroll through Twitter or Instagram at lunch instead of connecting with the people around me. And when I had exhausted all of the above options, I would scroll through my stock holdings just to see the latest minor fluctuation in prices.
I had a serious problem and didn’t even know it. Even when people around me joked about how much I used my phone, I brushed it off as just a sign of the times. It’s okay, I thought, because I can multitask, so it’s really not a big deal. Little did I understand, though, how these habits were eroding my own sense of security while also elevating my levels of stress and anxiety. I started to dwell on responses to my posts, or how many “favorites” my tweets got, or how often somebody texted me, or how much my stocks gained or lost. My relationship with my phone became completely compulsive and negative.
The turning point for me came when I first started having signs of rheumatoid arthritis. I mistook the pain in my hands and wrists as possible carpal tunnel, because the pain made me aware of how many times I touched my phone. My body physically forced me to take a break from all the texting and apps, because I didn’t want to exacerbate the symptoms I was experiencing. With some ice and rest, I figured it would all go away.
When that didn’t happen and I learned it was a more serious problem, it was an even bigger revelation for me: Life doesn’t last forever. There will come a point when I can’t use my hands or feet or body as well as I can now. I’m wasting my best years staring at a phone screen instead of living my life. Since that moment, I have become mindful of this modern-day addiction and am working to revert my life back to normal.
To help with this goal, I just finished reading the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris, who opened my eyes to the importance of being mindful and present. Harris is a famous journalist at ABC who had a similar epiphany when he had a panic attack live on national television. He learned that this was caused by a buildup of stress and anxiety relating to his modern lifestyle, such as compulsively checking his BlackBerry to keep in touch with his work 24/7. Similarly, I used to check my phone incessantly — without any prompting — mostly to entertain myself in everyday situations. I was allowing my mind to obsess over the latest updates, notifications, texts, tweets, and posts rather than focusing on the real world, and especially the people around me.
So, I’ve taken Harris’ advice and started practicing mindfulness and meditation in my own life. I have to say it has already had hugely positive ramifications, which is why I’m writing about it here. It doesn’t take much to regain control of your life and drastically reduce the stress of smartphone addiction.
For example, you can charge your phone in another room besides your bedroom. I used to check my phone every morning after waking up and every evening before bed. Now I limit my interactions during these times and instead focus on a relaxing start and end to the day. You can put your phone on silent while you’re working. If you’re expected to focus on something, don’t let your phone distract you. You’ll find that you can start to appreciate the work you’re doing again.
Another challenge is to resist the urge to use your phone as a distraction from life. Sometimes mindfulness means becoming aware of how you feel in seemingly “boring” moments throughout the day. Now, instead of checking my phone while waiting in line, I just wait in line. Likewise, I eat meals without needing to scroll through Instagram at the same time. Throughout the day, I actively remind myself to pause, look around, and enjoy a few mindful moments. When was the last time you noticed what a snowflake looks like as it falls all the way to the ground? (I see snow out my window right now.) Or the last time you actually tasted the coffee you’re drinking? You’d be surprised how it can feel incredibly relaxing to slow down time by avoiding unnecessary distractions.
Lastly, I recommend deleting some apps — especially at least one social media app. If you want to use your phone less, then give yourself one less notification to read or one less mindless game to play. Instead, use your new free time to take up an activity that reengages you with the world. I have been spending more time with people, more time reading books, and more time blogging. It’s amazing how beneficial replacing even small amounts of time with a more soul-satisfying activity can be.
As I sit here watching driver after driver checking their phone, I think there’s an important message to spread: It’s okay to put the phone down. In fact, it’s okay to not even have the phone within reach at all times. You might just be surprised how great you feel by doing it.
A lot of us would have heard of the term User Experience. We’ve also heard the term User Interface. Did you know that User Experience is not the same as User Interface? So why is it that I consistently see a UX/UI Designer roles advertised? As if they are part of the same job. They aren’t. Here is why.
First and foremost, a User Experience Designer is primarily focused on the users of your product/service. These users being both the consumers, as well as the people within your business. From a high level, their ultimate goal is to establish what your product/service is required to do, in order to provide the best value to your target audience. With this in mind, some of the tasks they work on (not a complete list) are:-
As you can see only the last list item really focuses on design, and this is more about visualising both the information architecture and the interactive flow of the application via the designs. So with this said, a User Experience Designer does not necessarily have the skills nor the creativity to design the system and make it look beautiful. And even if they do, they already have enough work on their plate to ensure that the product/service is being built as expected to suit our audience.
It is my opinion that the designer role is a separate individual role. Why? Well lets see some of the things they do (not a complete list either).
Now please understand, if you are a reading this article, and are either a UX Designer or a UI Designer, I am simply a developer. I do not completely understand everything these 2 roles do entirely. I’m sure there is more that these roles do. However my point of this article was to detail how I feel these roles are completely different, and should be treated as such.
I have seen a number of companies invest in just 1 UX/UI Designer. What I have noticed about these individuals is they are either overworked, and do not have enough time to do all tasks required accurately, or even worse, they are simple UI Designers, who have done a little bit of UX. Sure you think this is ok, but to me UX is everything to a product/service. It is a full time job of it’s own.
Not only is it important to me that this role be kept separate from a UI Designer, but if I could afford it, I would have at least 2 UX Designers for each project I have that requires their services. That’s how valuable they are to me. In fact, if I was to start a product/service based business tomorrow and could only start out with one employee along with myself, I would choose a UX Designer over any other role. I don’t think enough people understand how important a UX Designer is to a product/service based business. If you don’t have a solid understanding of what you should do to get the best out of your product/service, then you will fail, no matter how good it looks or how well it’s developed.
Bottom line. Keep the UX Designer role separate from a UI Designer. Both roles are way too important to try and save money on. Invest in the 2 roles separately and I guarantee it will be worth the investment.
My wife and I stopped handing over our smartphones. We couldn't have guessed what would happen next.
As a proud dad to two young children, I love my kids.
Most of the time.
But there's a specific set of circumstances that proves especially challenging for my wife and I: going out to eat with friends--who don't have kids.
Whenever we'd head out to a restaurant, it was almost impossible to have a conversation. Basically because after a few minutes, we were always faced with the same complaint: "I'm bored."
So, like many other parents I know, we'd resort to what we knew would keep them occupied and give us the best opportunity at salvaging the evening: We handed over the iPhone.
I always felt a little guilty doing it, like I was cheating. I'd even defend my actions to my friends, saying something like: "It's the only way we'll get to talk."
Of course, it only started with these dinner outings. Once my children realized that there was the potential for instant entertainment, they started asking for the phone (or tablet) more and more.
At the doctor's office:
"I'm bored. Can I watch a cartoon?"
Long car trips:
"I'm bored. Can I play a video game?"
Waiting in line, anywhere:
"I'm bored. Can you give me something to do?"
Many times I gave in...but deep down, I knew it couldn't be good.
Then, about a month ago, I read this great New York Times article by Pamela Paul: Let Children Get Bored Again.
"Boredom is something to experience rather than hastily swipe away," Paul argued. "Boredom is useful. It's good for you."
"Of course, it's not really the boredom itself that's important; it's what we do with it," she continued. "When you reach your breaking point, boredom teaches you to respond constructively, to make something happen for yourself. But unless we are faced with a steady diet of stultifying boredom, we never learn how."
Turns out, there's lots of research to back up Paul's argument.
For example, this Quartz article cites a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that found bored people "are more likely to engage in sensation seeking--that is, to look for activities or sights that engage their minds and stimulate the brain's reward centers." Such people were "more prone to 'divergent thinking styles'--the ability to come up with creative new ideas."
I also thought back to my own childhood days. There were no smartphones, no tablets. Heck, the Game Boy hadn't been invented when I was my son's age.
"If you complained about being bored back then, you were really asking for it," writes Paul. "'Go outside,' you might get, or worse, 'Clean your room.'"
"Was this fun? No. Was it helpful? Yes."
Yes, yes! This is what I needed to hear! It was time to let my kids get bored again.
The next time we went out to eat, it didn't take five minutes.
"I'm bored. Can I play a video game?"
"No," I responded.
"Then what should I do?"
"I don't know. Figure it out."
Then, something interesting started to happen.
My son, who's learning to read, started looking around. He began sounding out words, wherever he could find: posted signs, the menu.
This was amazing. Despite my wife and my efforts to make reading fun, my son hates reading homework. This kind of practice is invaluable. On the weekend, no less.
Wow, I mumbled to myself. It works.
Of course, that only lasted a few minutes.
"Now I really don't know what to do," my son told me.
"Maybe you can try talking to our friends," I suggested. "What can you learn about them?"
What followed was a great conversation between my children and our adult friends. They learned about each other, about their likes and dislikes, their upbringings, what they shared in common.
There were lots of laughs in between.
Best of all, my children were no longer the distraction, or the obstacle standing in the way of a great evening with friends. They were part of that evening, playing a role just as large as the rest of us.
It may have started with boredom, but it ended with resourcefulness.
And I guess my kids got something out of it, too.
Reports say Facebook is looking to integrate the messaging components of their 3 big apps.
Facebook is planning on integrating the messaging services of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger.
While all three apps will continue to work as stand-alone applications, the underlying messaging infrastructure will be integrated.
For example, a Facebook Messenger user could message a WhatsApp user, which is something that is currently not possible.
The integration effort will be completed by the end of 2019 or early 2020, according to reporting by The New York Times, which interviewed four people familiar with the project.
Why is Facebook Integrating the messaging components of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger?
The integration effort is reported to have caused some internal strife.
Instagram's founders, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, unexpectedly left Facebook in September 2018, as Mark Zuckerberg began taking more control over what was previously a completely separate application.
And WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum departed for similar reasons.
Facebook hasn't yet provided specific reasons for why they are making these changes, but there must be some reasons why they would reverse their previous position of allowing Instagram and WhatsApp to operate as independent apps.
Here's my $0.02.
Integration Reason 1: Chatbots
Q:Who the heck would ever want to message someone on WhatsApp using Instagram?
It would be super-annoying for businesses to have to make separate chatbots for WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger.
Businesses would like to be able to message their customers regardless of what platform they are using.
This change would appear (in theory) to extend the reach of a Facebook Messenger chatbot to a significantly larger and more geographically and demographically diverse population, which I think creates a super-compelling case for businesses to engage and communicate with their customers via chat.
Integration Reason 2: Alternative to Email
Email marketing today is a $100-billion-plus industry.
Yet email marketing is awful.
Any company or individual can simply guess your email or buy it from an email list vendor, then send you unsolicited emails.
And don't expect those companies to honor your unsubscribes, despite government regulations.
Yet there is no credible alternative to email for business-to-consumer communications, due to user fragmentation.
Everyone uses email, yet people use so many different messaging platforms.
(I personally use Messenger, iMessage, SMS, and sometimes even Skype.)
Merging messaging across these three enormously popular applications would create a messaging system that could rival the ubiquity of email.
Businesses could reach most internet users, while users could look forward to the elimination of spam, since Facebook requires that users opt into receiving messages from businesses.
Integration Reason 3: WeChat
In China, there is no "news feed."
There is only WeChat, which is used like an alternative to a Web browser--not just for messaging, but also to buy clothing, call a ride sharing service, order lunch, etc.
No such service exists in the Western world due to the user fragmentation of messaging platforms.
If Facebook could consolidate messenger utilization, more and more businesses could roll out business services (chatbots) on top of that platform.
And this would be enormously valuable to Facebook, as Tencent (the parent company of WeChat) is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
The Future of Chat Marketing
Consumers already overwhelmingly prefer chat versus email as a communication channel, and today's announcement makes it even more critical that marketers start
engaging their customers via messaging.
The remarkable customer experiences you deliver should extend to social media.
It is strange to admit, but I follow a doll on Instagram. I'm not the only one either-- this doll has more than 100,000 followers.
QaiQai (pronounced Kway Kway) is the "granddaughter" of tennis star Serena Williams and her husband, serial entrepreneur and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Their 1-year-old daughter Olympia isn't always as "careful" with her baby doll QaiQai, which is how we found out about her.
What started off as a few posts of photos and video of Quai Quai in unfortunate positions on Williams and Ohanian's Instagram feeds and stories, morphed into the doll having her own Instagram account. She's even been verified.
Fans engage with her, and QaiQai, full of personality, talks right back. Little Miss QaiQai is so popular, she took over the Women's Tennis Association's Instagram stories for a while during the Australian Open a few weeks ago.
QaiQai's success provides lessons for brands who want to find ways to engage with fans more deeply, particularly on social media.
1. Have fun with your brand.
Everything you do does not need to be laser-focused on your products and services. For me, and many others, QaiQai brings delight. I smile every time I see a post from her, and there are plenty of times when I laugh out loud.
Those good feelings have a positive spillover effect on how I feel about both Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian. I've been a longtime Serena Williams fan, but I feel like I get to see more of the personality of her and her spouse through their treatment of QaiQai and how they've given her a voice.
QaiQai is an extension of their brand that helps to strengthen it.
As you think about what kind of social media content to create, you don't necessarily have to create a QaiQai (she's one of a kind) or some character of your own. But keep an open mind about ways to add a little comic relief with a recurring theme as you show up online.
In time, your audience will enjoy and appreciate your shared experience with the joke and it can deepen the relationship they have with your brand as a result.
2. Showcase real life.
QaiQai came on the scene not because she was part of a strategic-planning session of how to increase engagement on Instagram.
She was already a part of Williams' and Ohanians' world because of their daughter. As the pair started to showcase glimpses of their home life with their followers on Instagram, QaiQai became a natural part of the narrative.
Everything you do in your business doesn't have to be planned out in advance. As you take your customers and followers along on the journey with you, there will be parts of your life that stand out.
When you start to share more of yourself in a manner that isn't always focused on a hard sell of your products, your audience will connect with you at a more emotional level. When they do, they will let you know what type of content they want more of. All you'll need to do is give it to them.
3. Dedicate resources to fully seizing opportunities.
Once it became clear that QaiQai was a fan favorite, her grandparents got her her own Instagram account. QaiQai now has her own posts, her own stories, and even merchandise with her name and face on it.
Someone is managing QaiQai's account so she can have engaging posts with cool photos, and interact with her followers. QaiQai's grandparents are two busy people with an active little one at home. Either they carve out time from their own schedules, or they hire someone to help, but one thing for certain is that QaiQai has resources dedicated to her growth.
Building a strong base of raving fans, especially on social media requires time, planning, and attention. Your ideas may develop organically, but they will grow when you give them the resources they need to thrive.
How you show up on social media is a big part of the customer experience you deliver. Follow QaiQai's lead so you can bring delight to your audience, and grow an engaged fan base for your brand.
There are many layers of the internet that cannot be found using a search engine. CNBC's Tom Chitty explains the dark web and its many uses.
IT'S MORE IMPORTANT than ever to manage your passwordsonline, and also harder to keep up with them. That's a bad combination. So the FIDO Alliance—a consortium that develops open source authentication standards—has pushed to expand its secure login protocols to make seamless logins a reality. Now Android's on board, which means 1 billion devices can say goodbye to passwords in more digital services than seen before.
On Monday, Google and the FIDO Alliance announced that Android has added certified support for the FIDO2 standard, meaning the vast majority of devices running Android 7 or later will now be able to handle password-less logins in mobile browsers like Chrome. Android already offered secure FIDO login options for mobile apps, where you authenticate using a phone's fingerprint scanner or with a hardware dongle like a YubiKey. But FIDO2 support will make it possible to use these easy authentication steps for web services in a mobile browser, instead of having the tedious task of typing in your password every time you want to log in to an account. Web developers can now design their sites to interact with Android's FIDO2 management infrastructure.
"Google got involved in FIDO quite some ways back, particularly because of phishing, which we think is one of the biggest issues of authentication on the web today," says Christiaan Brand, a product manager at Google focused on identity and security. "The natural evolution was looking toward FIDO2. Customers are already used to using these sensors on the device for authenticating into applications every day, so how do we make that technology available to websites?"
Developers can implement FIDO2 authentication in a number of different variations depending on what makes sense for their product, but all the versions offer additional phishing protection by requiring user participation during sign-in (like doing a fingerprint scan or producing a dongle) so attackers can't get as far with usernames and passwords alone.
FIDO2 and a related standard, WebAuthn, created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium, have gained ubiquity through adoption by all the major browsers—except Safari, though Apple has hinted it will add support—and platforms like Microsoft account sign-in. But Android represents a big step, because it will enable a major subset of mobile developers to start offering universal password-less logins. Google's Brand points out that under FIDO2, developers will even be able to streamline their mobile browser and set up password-less login on the web, using that authentication step carry over to a service's app or vice versa.
"We got to the point where it was implemented in browsers, but now we’re seeing FIDO technology sedimented in an even broader user base," according to Andrew Shikiar, chief marketing officer of the FIDO Alliance.
Since Android is open source and can be deployed by device manufacturers in all different ways, the platform has issues keeping the global population of devices up to date with the latest operating system and features. But Brand says that Google is releasing the FIDO2 update through a mechanism called Google Play Services that will allow it to reach almost all devices running Android 7 or later, without manufacturers needing to do or adapt anything. What this means is the update will actually be able to get to most of Android's massive user base.
Though FIDO2 support will allow Android to accept secure web logins using dongles, NFC, and Bluetooth, Google is envisioning fingerprint authentication as the easiest approach, and the one that is likely to become most popular with users. And both Google and the FIDO Alliance emphasize that in all of this, your fingerprint data is still always stored locally on your device and isn't sent anywhere else or held by any other party. The sensor creates a cryptographic signature from your fingerprint data that is then used in FIDO2's authentication scheme.
"Providing the FIDO2 option gives really strong identity protection for account holders," says Kenn White, director of the Open Crypto Audit Project. "You and I might be fooled by 'paypa1.com,' but a FIDO key won’t be. Among the security community, WebAuthn, which FIDO2 intersects with, is considered one of the strongest account protections there is."
Though FIDO2 promises a much easier web security experience for users, it will take time to achieve adoption anywhere near as universal as traditional password schemes. And digital identity experts warn that any single credential, no matter how robust, is always more secure when paired with a strategic second authentication factor. Unfortunately, even in a glorious utopia free of passwords, there’s never a magic bullet for account security.
by Clifford Chi
In high school, one of my friends was determined to find the perfect time to post her Instagram photos to maximize the amount of likes she got. She was surprisingly scientific about it, posting at different times of the day and jotting down each of her posts' "likes per minute."
After weeks of testing, she figured out which post time raked in the most likes, and, from then on, she could easily get 200 likes on all her Instagram posts.
My friend's rather scientific method to maximize her Instagram likes still makes me chuckle to this day. But since I'm a marketer now, her desire to build a strong Instagram presence also resonates with me.
To build a sizable Instagram following, you need to create compelling content that your audience actually craves. But if you don't post your content at the right time, most of them will never see it.
So how do you figure out the optimal post time for your specific audience?
The best way to find an ideal posting time is by testing the timing of your posts to see which post time generates the most audience engagement.
But if you don't have enough resources or time to conduct your own tests, Sprout Social, a social media management platform with over 24,000 customers, has you covered. Last year, they analyzed their customer data to see what time and day their social media posts generated the most engagement. They also segmented the data by social network and industry.
Looking at their aggregate customer data for Instagram, you can see that the following days and times -- in Central Daylight Time (CDT) -- are ideal for generating the most engagement on the social network:
When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?On average, the best time to post on Instagram is between 2 PM and 3 PM CDT. However, the level of engagement you get can change dramatically depending on what day of the week you post. The best day to post on Instagram is Thursday, not just at 3 PM, but at 5 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM as well.
As stated above, although 2 – 3 PM is considered the best time of day to post on Instagram, the day of the week on which you post can change how much engagement you actually get at 2 – 3 PM.
Why? Think about the little differences in your daily mood and routine -- the ones you might not realize you have -- and how they affect your behavior. The same goes for everyone following your Instagram account. Here are some additional insights about optimal post timing from data by Sprout Social to show you what I mean:
Best Time to Post on Instagram for Each Day of the Week
On average, here are the best times to Instagram during the week:
Want some easy marching orders based on this data? Post to Instagram between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM CDT from Tuesday to Friday. You'll get the most consistent engagement that way.
The general data above about optimal post timing is a great starting point for growing an engaged Instagram audience. But if you want to get more granular, here are the best times to post on Instagram if your organization is in the technology, B2C, education, healthcare, and non-profit industries, according to Sprout Social's research.
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Technology Companies
Have you ever wanted to know what browsing the web was like at the very beginning of the web, way back in 1990? Thanks to some retro efforts by a team at CERN (yes the same CERN that built the Large Hadron Collider), you can now try out the very first ever web browser, called WorldWideWeb (and yes, as you may have guessed that’s where the WWW name and acronym comes from). Best of all, this WorldWideWeb rebuild loads just fine in any modern web browser of today, and you can even load many modern websites!
Because the majority of the modern web still uses HTML, the 30 year old WorldWideWeb browser is still able to load most websites you probably visit today, including the one you’re reading right now. It only loads text though (HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol after all) so the experience is sort of like running Lynx at the command line but a bit more limited – this thing is a 30 year old original web browser after all. Regardless, it’s kind of fun to geek around with!
Using the WorldWideWeb browser today is simple:
All you need is a modern web browser, which you’re likely using now to read this website (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc). Then just do the following:
3. Double-click links to open them, each new link opens in a new window within the WorldWideWeb browser
Navigating websites with the WorldWideWeb browser is fairly awkward compared to what you’re used to, but it is three decades old and offers a look at the web at its infancy.
This is obviously not the most practical endeavor of all time, but it’s pretty amazing that you can recreate a historical web browser and get it working today in a very different era of the internet.
While WorldWideWeb is the very first web browser, many longtime Macintosh users may have used other early web browsers in the halcyon days of the early web. Maybe your first web browser was WorldWideWeb, Erwise, ViolaWWW, NCSA Mosaic (my personal first), Netscape Navigator, or Internet Explorer (remember when it used to be called “The Internet” on Windows 95?), or maybe it was Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or any of the other later and more modern web browsers.
Anyway, this is just yet another fun retro geeky thing to play around with, so check it out if you’re a fan of techy nostalgia. You probably won’t be using WorldWideWeb as your default browser anytime soon, but that’s not quite the point.