90% of Notifications are really just interruptions

This week I published a little Chrome plugin called No More Notifications. You can install it here, if you like. It’s pretty silly, and not really expected to set the world on fire. Essentially, all it does is substitute the word notification with the word interruption. Like I said, it’s silly…

However, it is intended to raise a point around framing. The language, and terminology we use to describe things, influences how we think about the world. I think this is a conversation worth having.

Screenshot showing modified search results from google with the word notification substituted for interruption
After installing the plugin, your internet is free of the word notification! Feel free to make your own plugin to eliminate annoying terminology.

For example, you could prepend the title “Operating Thetan level 8” every time Tom Cruise is mentioned online. Or, simply replace the word toast with double baked bread. The possibilities are endless.

Lingo bingo

I propose we start being a little more truthful when it comes to naming things. Not to recommend a bowl of word soup, but here are a couple of examples.

“Honest”

When someone asks if you want their honest opinion, it is only natural to tense up a little. Honest opinions are bad. You are right to be slightly guarded. This has been your experience.

An alternative is suggested by Ed Catmull in his excellent book Creativity Inc (library link). Instead of honest, we can use the word candour. Honesty and candour are synonymous. However, candour does the job, without the added negative connotations, or politics, that come loaded with the word honest. I think this is a good call.

So, Let’s be candid.

“Special Offers” are really ads

The Kindle Paperwhite is great. I bought the version with Special Offers. Special Offers are really just ads. The special offers I see on the Kindle, don’t really feel like adverts. They have been personalised to my taste in books, and are very discreet, only appearing when the screen is off. It would be very different if they popped up as I was reading.

…and finally, our friend the bloody notification

I don’t like bleeping things, and catch myself checking my phone all the time. This is something that I do in front of people, which is just bad manners. My friends do it too. One flash or a bing and you lose someone for 5 minutes.

I turn notifications off on my phone for pretty much every app that I have on it. For the most part, I turn notifications off at a system level during the day, which means I miss some calls. This is not really a major problem. The world has yet to end at least.

Notifications = Interruptions

You may Download a ZIP of the awesome No More Notifications plugin here, or make your own following these guidelines.

P.S. I did have to disable this plugin in order to write this post. It kept swapping out the word notification, and meant that what I had written made even less sense.

P.P.S. Also, in the unlikely event that any Scientologists happen to read this, I like (some) Tom Cruise movies. The Edge of Tomorrow was great. So sorry if I offended you. Please don’t hurt me, or follow me with a camera. Not that you would. But please don’t. Ok. Thanks. Bye!

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