The digital world has a plethora of ways to reach into our analog, offline lives to tell us if something's up. My phone will vibrate, bing, ding, and slam around in my pocket when it wants me to react to something. Yet, regardless of these digital pings, I still reach into my pocket to check the status of the Internet, whether it's email, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, my blog stats, or the like. I don't NEED to check it, I know it will check me when need be, but I still hit the refresh button. I see this happening throughout society as I'm out and about - we all need to feel connected and it's not enough to have our phones tell us when we need to enter back into the digital world. Is it a trust issue? Is it an addiction?
The Internet, in it's ever-changing state, is a method of interruption. It breaks up our otherwise routine cycles by allowing us to venture outside the world we live in and into a digital world that can be whatever we make of it. I shop for furniture and cars I can't afford, I look at multi-million dollar houses. It's an escape. It's digital voyeurism.
So how can companies take advantage of this digital/analog relationship? By creating a pipeline for consumers to "need" whatever it is you sell. Temporary, anxiety-inducing, short-shelf-life content, features, news, writing, updates, photos, or whatever, that trace life in an interesting way, make people believe that they are "missing out on something" and need to plug back in to get their quick fix.
Sell temporary. Sell evaporation. Get them hitting the refresh button.