More Screen Time
Proactively transform the barrier of “zombie scrolling” on mobile phones into a gamification opportunity that brings the dreaded device alive.
I recommend you ignore warnings about too much screen time and, instead, push for more - at your corporate events.
Introducing mobile phone gamification delivered obvious benefits to events at which I hosted or entertained, and other benefits I had not anticipated. That’s because occupying the real estate of an attendee’s mobile device during any kind of event can improve their overall experience.
Making online events a two-screen experience, and adding a screen to in-person, physical events may be optimal for precisely the reasons you think screens should be avoided: health & wellness, and attention span.
With my App, I create engaging and entertaining experiences such as trivia, selfie-pic collages, real-time, hosted polls, escape room style scenarios, art sketches, and more. These activations improve engagement in ways that I expected.
What I didn’t expect was that event planners would express gratitude for helping them keep their audience focussed on the event program as a whole.When I deploy interactive content that appears seamlessly on an attendee’s mobile device, they’re less likely to be scrolling the news, stocks, social media, or their email messages. This synchronizes their cherished device with the program and breaks the pattern of habitually zoning out to other content.
This is beneficial for two key reasons:
1. Attendees are more engaged with the event, which makes producers, planners and sponsors happy.
2. People get more out of their event experience, which makes attendees happy.
We’ve been conditioned to constantly check our phones. Pre-COVID-19, we were apparently spending more than one in five waking minutes looking at our handheld devices, (Globe & Mail). This dramatically increased over the past 16 months. And you may have noticed that even in person, at physical events when they’re not protected by the anonymity of attending online, people are often still scrolling their devices. It’s a relentless habit, if not addiction, that is becoming more and more documented, (see this article in VOX).
When people attend an event and are passively listening to a speaker on-stage, or watching on their laptop or desktop while scrolling unrelated content on their mobile phone, they may think they’re successfully multitasking. But, according to Stanford attention expert, David Strayer, it’s actually impossible to pay attention to more than one thing at a time, despite beliefs to the contrary. In other words, multitasking is a myth.
I believe integrating a two-screen experience into your online event, or adding a screen to your in-person event is not merely about managing people in order to improve your event metrics. It improves what people get out of the event, enhancing their overall event experience, (which, ultimately improves the data and survey feedback that helps event planners).
When people have content on their mobile screens that supports the event agenda, they are more likely to be immersed in the overall program. They’re not multitasking. They’re “multi-engaging”.
You’ve planned your content and selected your presenters with a lot of effort and specific outcomes in mind. That content is meant to inform and inspire; to help people improve their personal and professional lives; to elevate your business productivity and improve your corporate culture. Therefore, when people actively consume that content in a holistic manner, everyone is happier, healthier and, in the long run, more prosperous.
It’s true: research suggests that phone use degrades the quality of our sleep, productivity and creativity. It’s linked to heightened levels of anxiety and depression, diminished sexual satisfaction, compromised child-parent relationships and more. Even with science to caution our choices, however, we are reluctant to change our mobile phone use behaviour.
So, at a corporate event, where attention is a valuable resource, we can proactively transform the barrier of “zombie scrolling” into an opportunity that brings the dreaded device alive.
When mobile gamification is used as a tool to powerfully augment the content we’ve created, event attendees may not even be able to put their finger on why your event stood out to them. And as an event planner, you won’t cringe, but instead rejoice, when attendees put their finger on their phones.