Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Self Control & Delayed Information

You know that Marshmallow experiment? The one where the child is offered 1 marshmallow now or they can have 2 marshmallows in 15minutes time?  I always think that I will be able to hold out the 15min and be in control. It may be tempting as hell, but I'm pretty sure I could wait for a second marshmallow.

 What if the marshmallow is replaced? What if it is access to data? Or power/electricity?  Could you wait 15min to check your phone? I'm not so sure of that. I'm especially not so sure of that when I'm wanting to Tweet something or I'm waiting for a message from someone. It can be quite unbearable.  It can feel like we're in a black hole. 

While I was stuck in NYC during Sandy, there wasn't so much as a hunger for food,  it was more of a hunger to be connected and have access to power up our phones! It was more important to Tweet & Instagram the effects of a Hurricane than to ensure our neighbours were safe & that we had enough supply of food and drink!

In this day in age, we can't wait for anything. We're so dependant on our phones as entertainment or even as our 'iBFF'*. Yes, the data we have access to now is what we will have in 15min time, but in that 15min we may miss out on something important. FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out. That oh so funny meme or the breaking news. You want to be first with that news or at least get in early with a re-tweet or Pin or Facebook update. 

We want more & want more frequently.  We do more online shopping than ever, but what is the greatest negative of online shopping? It's that we have to wait for it to be shipped or mailed out.  Aghhhhh! This could take 7-10days.  Can we wait for this second marshmallow?  Well, we have to, but it's going to be mighty painful.  Mitigating this, there are now companies online that can coordinate and guarantee delivery of an item in 3 hours! This is even better than same day delivery!

If the marshmallow experiments were to take place again today, maybe the same results would have been found. However, today's marshmallow isn't necessarily a marshmallow. Could we leave an iPad on the table instead?

* iBFF - coined by Me. Feel free to let it catch on!

Stanford Marshmallow Experiment by Walter Mischel -

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