Without Noise

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I'm currently re-reading Digital Minimalism, a fantastic book about living a more focused, less stressful & more mindful life by using technology in a truly purposeful and thoughtful way.

1.5 years ago I did a planned digital detox - 30 days with no social media & limited online presence. It's one of the key steps in becoming a digital minimalist. During that thirty-day process you reevaluate the role of social media and all the other digital stuff you might use. It's a tough experiment at first, but definitely worth it in the long run, as it will help you answer the question: is this really valuable to me? A lot of us jump onto new platforms, tools, apps just because they're popular. Not because we've vetted the potential value they might bring into our live.

I thought I couldn't live without social media. I had this grim vision of broken friendships, being in the dark about things going on in my social circles, and just feeling lonely and disconnected.

But damn, I couldn't have been more wrong.

During those thirty days I felt more focused, more connected with the people I care about, and more intentional about the things I do. We're made to believe that social media is something fundamental, that it is the only way we can have a vivid social life. This idea has been heavily promoted by the social media companies themselves, both through marketing, and through user experience design. They're trying (and succeeding) to make their platforms as addictive as possible. To make us visit them hundreds of times a day, and to have us see ads, for which they get paid. Zuckerberg likes being rich.

A life without social media is like a life without noise. It's a life that can be lived to its full potential in every way possible. The few benefits we get from social can be easily replaced by dedicated online forums, news-reading apps, or such outrageous ideas like seeing people IRL. Or, in the worse case scenario, we can always just limit our use. 15 minutes a week of Twitter with a clear intention in mind is not a bad thing. It starts being a bad thing when we start associating our mood with it.

Turn down the noise. You won't be able to hear real music otherwise.


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