I’ve been coming across similar ideas lately. I first read about the concept of “digital downsizing” in Habib Sadeghi’s monthly newsletter. The following week I listened to this and this podcast that had Cal Newport talking about his new book Digital Minimalism.
Sadeghi talks about how he switched to an old-school mobile phone that doesn’t have internet and quit social media. Newport, whose inspiring ideas I wrote about in this piece, talks about his radical recommendations about limiting any type of technological addiction that doesn’t support our values in life in his podcasts. Add to this the numerous conversations I heard around about social media detox and I think we have a trend on our hands. It is obvious that many of us are questioning our relationship with our phones (digital tools and social media accounts) that lure us in and take up a lot of our time. Especially those who remember life before all of this technology are obviously looking to feel the satisfaction they felt through interpersonal relationships back in the day. Some of us want to go back to a time when our mind flow and attention weren’t constantly interrupted by notifications, when our need for approval was limited to the people we knew and didn’t extend to thousands of people, when to like or be liked wasn’t an obsession.
Is it possible to take a step back as a society? I think not. I don’t even think it’s necessary. I’m sure those who yield to the monarchy find something that they need: trust, approval, a sense of belonging, sharing, fun… If the rest of us think that it’s possible to beat the digital monarchy just because we have the strongest and the best of intentions, then we have to think again. Alternative solutions are not that easy or automatic. But that is the topic of another piece.
Translated by Talya Arditi