The other day I was sitting on the tram on my way to work. Most people got off at Frankfurter Allee so the tram was fairly empty and pleasantly quiet. Two girls hopped on and were talking to each other in English and sat right behind me.
„I can’t wait to watch the video!“
„I feel it’s gonna go viral on TikTok, that would be so cool“
What seemed like a normal conversation between two friends, triggered my mind, instantly. I couldn’t help but thinking:
What the heck is TikTok (okay, I know it’s a social media built around sharing videos, I‘m not that much of a dinosaur 😂 but what else?)? Is this just another futile trend like most of the things seem to be nowadays? Why is time moving so fast that we barely get to update and adapt to something that a new version is already there? Wasn’t it better when we had less? Less technology, less social media, less urge of “being popular” on the internet and constantly be online and connected? Are we really getting valued by the whole “like” culture, are our lives really that much dependent on our online “success” and ability to get clicks and likes and hearts and thumbs up? Why do we need so much to share on the internet and why are we so dependent on being online all the time (and why do we freak out when wifi doesn’t work and we can’t get online)?
As a content creator, I spend time online and use social media as part of my work to share my content but also as a tool I use on my free time. Being online and using social media is fun, sure, but how mu h time do we spend on it without even realizing it? I had to teach myself how to make a mindful use of the time I spend online. I think that there is a fine line between “being online” and “living online, because we get “sucked in” without noticing. We try to take the perfect picture of our food before eating it so we can let everybody know what we’re having for lunch before actually having our lunch. We go on holiday somewhere and we spend more time on our phone sharing pictures and stories than actually enjoying the place and experience we have right in front of us. We do something with the intention of sharing it on social media first and then enjoy it later. We see a band we love playing live not directly through our own eyes but through our phone’s screen because we are too busy getting the perfect shot or “Insta story” video and uploading it. We determine how much someone is “worthy” by the number of their likes and consenses they can get online. We are forgetting the importance of being present and being appreciative of what we have right here, right now because instead of talking to each other we’d rather sit in silence while tagging each other on social media.
I am a little afraid of so many trends popping in and out of our lives. How are we supposed to catch up with all of them? Is this TikTok thing something we are going to talk about in like a year or just something that will fade as soon as the next big thing will take over our lives? I have to admit, seeing how fast everything is moving these days freaks me out.
Every day is a new opportunity to create, live to the fullest, improve, grow, breathe in as much as we can of what is around us, be our best selves. And instead it seems like we are wasting it while staring at screens, constantly chasing that “perfect life” that we see on social media: perfect outfits, perfect food, perfect homes, perfect jobs, perfect lifestyles, perfect bodies.
Is it really a win being able to constantly be connected and have access to anything we want if, as a result, we lack of presence in what is going on right now? If we start doubting ourselves, missing on who we are, what we have and what we have the chance and power to do?
We have to remind ourselves that what really matters is the right here, right now. Our well being and happiness depends on our ability to appreciate the simple things, to be mindful and positively open to whatever comes to us. What we “chase” or are looking for online won’t add anything valuable to our day or our life. Life is happening right here, right now and we are too busy staring at a screen to live to our fullest. Let’s change this.
SOCIAL MEDIA MINIMALISM & DIGITAL DETOX TIPS
- When you’re home, leave the phone in another room. If your phone is out of sight, you’re less tempted to reach for it automatically or without thinking about it. Kind of “out of sight, out of heart”.
- Always have a book on you. If you bring something to read wherever you are, you will have something to keep you busy in those spare minutes when you could potentially check your phone (waiting for an appointment, daily commute, etc. )
- Set an alarm. It’s easy to lose track of time when being online and using social media, so with an alarm you know exactly how much time went by already and you remind yourself to take a break from it.
- Unsubscribe and unfollow from every content that doesn’t feel valuable to you.
- No social media and no internet for the first hour and for the last hour of your day. Give your brain a rest and the chance to prepare for the day ahead or to prepare to go into sleep mode.
- Practice mindfulness by trying to be more aware of what’s around you and more focused and receptive of what is going on right here, right now. Focus on the simple, tiny details and appreciate them fully.