I laughed because, living in a big city, I’m constantly surrounded by people. Spending so much time around way too many people, how could I still be longing for, craving, wanting for human connection? A small talk about the weather, a chat about grocery prices at the store, a quick vent session about life at the train station? It used to be.
The answer came to me just as quickly: Everyone is here, online; talking about the weather, complaining about grocery prices, and venting about life on the world wide web.
I’m just not here. And it sucks.
Everyone is talking, but the silence is deafening.
An experience for one: experiencing something, a moment, a thing, an event, without the need to capture, share, or post about it online.
The idea occurred to me while at my in-laws cottage enjoying the beautiful view of the lake. I should take a picture, I think; maybe share it on my blog, or on instagram, or you know, for memory sake. The last part is a lie: I got over 10,700 pictures in my camera roll that I rarely, if ever, look at to confirm.
But, I decide against it. This is an experience just for me, I think, and enjoy the view, the moment, the feeling. It’s all good.
When I quit social media, the most wonderful thing happened. I stopped thinking about posting any and every mildly interesting thing that I was doing online: a meal, a song, a scenic area.
The internal dialogue of how to capture a moment and what to caption it, or how to word a thought into a perfect tweet that occupied much of my thought process went away. And with it, the thought of how it will be received by followers vanished too.
Too long, won’t read version: Add an offline activity to the start of your day for better days.
The long version: I paid attention and realized something yesterday. #storytime
I left my Airpods at home yesterday after my phone kindly warned me I’ve exceeded the recommended level for audio exposure. Got me wondering, how else is one supposed to listen to So Mi Like It? I digress…
Anyway, I wanted to give my ear a break, and didn’t want any temptation, so I brought a book instead for my commute. Usually, I’d read an e-book on my phone, while listening to music, switching between this app then that app, skipping this song then that song, you know the usual. On this particular commute, however, it was just my book and I, and my phone stayed in my purse.
There’s a good reason for that: attention = profit. The more Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube can harvest our attention, the more profit they make from digital advertisers marketing their products and services to us.
Isn’t it ironic that there are apps designed to help minimize our digital addiction? Fight fire with fire, I guess.
The digital world can be all-consuming, and there’s a good reason for that: attention = profit. The more Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are able to harvest our attention, the more money they make from digital advertisers vying for our attention to consume their products, services, or information.
Six months ago, I deleted my Spotify account as part of my digital declutter to minimize digital noise.
The result? Less skipping, more listening.
Having access to millions of songs on Spotify led me to excessively skip songs in the pursuit of finding the perfect song, but rarely satisfied with what I picked anyway. I felt I could no longer enjoy a song or an album in its entirety— an increasingly rare but lovely experience I enjoy indulging in.
Spotify was robbing me of the satisfaction of enjoying music.
I’m not alone in this, and Spotify isn’t the only offender either; Netflix and Tinder are also some of the other popular platforms providing abundance without much satisfaction.