Digital Minimalism - How my 30 day social media detox turned into a new way of living
Updated: Aug 18
A few months ago, I went on a 30-day digital detox and I've been off social media ever since, with the exception of my music business accounts. I've developed a new mindset of digital minimalism. When I look at outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, they remind me of McDonalds or Burger King. Social media is today's fast food version of communication. Like a quarter pounder, a pack of fries, and a large coke, you have to go through a lot of junk to pull out any kind of nourishment. Social media is empty calories. After consuming a daily diet of social media for years, I went cold turkey for 30-days and found that I was happier and healthier. My life was better for it, and my 30-day detox has turned into a new way of living without social media.
Digital minimalism is a mindset of questioning which digital communication tools are necessary for your happiness. Whether it be email, social media, or general internet consumption, the purpose of this philosophy is to question whether or not the digital medium adds value to your life and how much of your life it takes to get that value. Value is the key factor.
Built on a philosphy started by Thoreau in "Walden", digital minimalism doesn't just look at what you get, it looks at how much life it takes to get it, and what the value is. In order to find value on social media, most people agree that they have to scroll through a lot of junk food before they find even the smallest crumb of soul food. So why do we do it? Most people feel that if they don't go onto their social media accounts they are missing "something." But what? The list looks something like this: pictures of their relatives that live far away. keeping up with friends who live out of state. someone's birthday. an event in town. But how does this support going onto that account numerous times a day or even an hour or more a day? The reality is that social media technologists have built in features to keep people hooked to their "feeds." The more time you spend on social media, the more money social media makes. With a simple "like" button, social media has harnessed the power/addiction of gambling. Whenever a person makes a post, it is a gamble. How many likes will this get? What will the comments be? A simple "like" button has become the symbol of social acceptance and approval. Interestingly, the more dark or depressing a post is, the more likes, hearts, and comments it will get. If you want to have a pity party, social media is a great place to get a lot of attention from people who care for about ten seconds.
I was an average social media user. I use to see the "regulars" in a sad way, but I came to realize that I spent my fair share of time posting great news and pictures of my great life. When I left social media, I took stake of all the things in my life that I value and I started spending more time playing music, reading, and really talking to people who I wanted to connect with on a deeper level. Within a short period of time, my life changed for the better. Some would say that I could have done all those things and still checked in regularly on my social media feed. I disagree. The very act of doing something designed to keep you hooked on empty calories while searching for morsals of nourishment, finding that small amount of dopamine. feels wrong to me.