The Virus Changed the Way We Internet
April 9, 2020 4:20 PM   Subscribe

I was expecting "turning away from our phones" to be metonymic for "getting away from screens," but they mean it literally — we're using bigger screens. (This is fine! I'm not passing judgment! I tried like four times to rewrite this sentence so it couldn't be read as scornful and finally just gave up! I just... yeah. Thought it was interesting.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:09 PM on April 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Interesting read but I know so many people for whom their phone is their 'computer'. I'm a tech fossil and even I consume a ton of content through my phone. Is there something else at play here. i.e. shift away from 'phone apps' (i.e. the walled web) to browsing content in a web browser?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 6:10 PM on April 9, 2020

Might it be that smart TV use of services like YouTube end up being logged as not being via an app but being via the web? Like, I don't know, but that's my conjecture. Or else people are just literally using their laptops instead of their handhelds.
posted by hippybear at 7:17 PM on April 9, 2020

While we may be turning away from our phones for internet content, I have had more phone conversations with my kids, family, friends and businesses in the last month than I had in the 5 years prior combined.

And, of course, the video calls they promised us in the 70s are here. Even the TV shows are now one big Zoom call. Here in NY, the newscasters are all in their apartments or homes, watching the late night people at home, and the concert fundraiser are essentially video calls.
posted by AugustWest at 8:38 PM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Working from home instead of at the office, I'm more likely to have Netflix or Hulu open in a side monitor. I've probably watched more PC Netflix and Hulu in the past month than I did in the previous three.
posted by Hatashran at 8:48 PM on April 9, 2020

And not one mention of pornography. Seems fishy, to me...
posted by ZaneJ. at 11:57 PM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm glad it's changing the way we internet. I hope that it will eventually also change the way we verb.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 1:40 AM on April 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

I wonder how much of that drop is due to the huge drop in public transport use. You may well use your phone on the tube or bus or train to pass the time, but now if you're WFH or furloughed you might as well use your laptop/desktop.

Even at home, I used to hang out on my sofa with my phone quite often during downtime; now the kids have colonised it all day, I don't even do that. Animal crossing at my desk is an acceptable substitute, and probably better for my mental health too...
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:48 AM on April 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

The desire for the latest facts on the virus appears to be curbing interest in the more opinionated takes from partisan sites, which have defined the media landscape in recent years.
I wonder if that's why I've been spending less time at Metafilter recently. Hmm. I'll have to think about that.
posted by clawsoon at 4:32 AM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Friendly reminder to consider lowering your data plan for your phone. Since I’m working from home for the foreseeable future, I dropped my data plan to the minimum possible rate.

Fuck the telecoms and their data caps.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:27 AM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Apparently, there's also been a huge drop in mobile data usage in the UK.

The most significant difference I've seen is that voice calls are up close to 40% (I'm blocked from reading the article too), MMS, which was considered to be a 'stagnant messaging form' compared to Apple Imessage is up over 50%, texting is way up, video conferencing up like 500%, email has declined by 10%, and overall mobile browsing is only down by like 10%, which is not surprising if you look at Google trends - most US cities are down in transit (car & mass) by only like 30%.
posted by The_Vegetables at 6:59 AM on April 10, 2020

I'm glad it's changing the way we internet. I hope that it will eventually also change the way we verb.

Internetting weirds verbs.
posted by Foosnark at 10:16 AM on April 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

There’s huge number of people who don’t have a PC at home, and who rely entirely on their phones. And my guess is those are the very same people who are now working double shifts in retail and other “essential” jobs, and who don’t have the time or energy to be on their phones much right now.

Meanwhile, those who are working from home are by definition more likely to be sitting in front of a PC all day.

And those who only have a phone and are not working at all, are too busy scrambling to survive to be on their phones much. They’re standing in line at food banks, and cooking beans from scratch for their families, etc.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:13 AM on April 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

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