November 15, 2015
Looking at your watch is often a signal to indicate that it’s getting late, or that you have to be somewhere else.
One of the flagship features of the WATCH is Glances —essentially notifications that you can see and interact with at a glance.
One thing I’ve noticed in the past few months of wearing an WATCH is that glances aren’t in the social lexicon yet. To everyone who doesn’t own a smart watch (pretty much everyone), glancing at your watch is still a signal that it’s getting late or that you have to be somewhere else.
Another thing I’ve noticed about the WATCH is that no one notices that it’s a smart watch or that it’s any different from a regular watch. (That’s actually one of the reasons I like it so much).
So here’s the dilemma:
When I look at my WATCH when it buzzes, people around me think that I need to go, or I’m looking for an excuse to end the conversation. This doesn’t happen when I pull out my phone and look at the same notification.
But here’s the thing:
Before smart phones, pulling out your phone indicated that you were receiving a call and it gave people the same impression: that you might have somewhere else to be.
What has been interesting to me is that the WATCH has successfully interfered with social behavior and cues (at least in my life).
One way or another, this interference will be normalized over time. Considering Apple’s success in changing social behavior in the past, I’m betting that the social lexicon will soon add glances to your wrist to mean something more than just checking the time.
Thes subtle changes to the social lexicon are how technology changes the world and I think the WATCH, regardless of how successful it is as a product, is attempting to do just that.