2020 Volume 5 Issue 2 Pages 43-60
This paper examines two self-tracking apps inspired by Buddhist ideas and practices but designed for the broader public: Mitra: Track What Matters Most and Stop, Breathe & Think. It shows how the apps enable users to develop greater emotional and ethical awareness, and it argues that their minimalist and customizable design features help mitigate against users becoming dependent on the technology itself. It then illustrates ways that other apps like Calm instead seek to lure users into their technology and keep them there. It concludes with a discussion of how such hooks and attention-economic strategies strengthen habits of consumption.