I’m currently partaking in a digital detox, where I’m only using the internet to write Digitally Well. Though much easier than I thought it would be, I occasionally lose faith in what I’m doing and want to dive back into a mindless rabbit hole of Youtube videos and Reddit posts. When this happens I have to ask myself, “why am I doing this?” Habits change when you connect your values you your behavior. For me, knowledge is an important value. I realized I can learn a lot more from reading books than random headlines. Focusing on why I’m doing this helps me stay motivated.
ADVICE AND INSPIRATION
TL;DR: If there’s one emotion that will come up when you’re doing a digital detox, it’s loneliness. It has become ubiquitous to push those feelings down with low level para-social connection (ie. constantly refreshing twitter) in lieu of more meaningful contact. But what if embracing the loneliness sparked by a lack of social media could give rise to deeper irl connection?
TL;DR: Maybe you want to take a step back from tech, but you have a problem. Your job revolves around it. That was what Jia Tolentino, staff writer for the New Yorker, was going up against when she decided to do a 30 day digital declutter. For her, taking a break from optional tech “illuminated how much I had been formed by it, how much I had absorbed it into my bones that I needed to be producing and doing something productive every minute of the day.” A digital detox won’t kill your career. Continuing to be “always on” and pursuing productivity at all costs might, however, harm your wellbeing.
TL;DR: In 1787, James Madison feared the dangers of partisanship and animosity in American democracy. He thought that the vastness of America would help guard against this, as it would be difficult for outrage to spread very far. He didn’t predict that we would someday invent a way to communicate emotionally charged political content instantly. Thankfully, there are steps we can take to preserve our democracy and keep social media in check.
TL;DR: Pandora’s box has been opened, and now each of us have a device containing the entirety of human knowledge in our pockets. Anyone can produce media, we’re no longer tied to the centralized infrastructure of cable and newspapers. However, in today’s world of surveillance capitalism, some early prophets of the power of computers and the internet are starting to consider whether their optimism was warranted.
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