Is ‘Slowcial Media’ The Answer?
Social media addiction is on the rise with more and more people struggling to stop endlessly scrolling through their feeds. Could ‘slowcial media’ be the answer to using social media intentionally and avoiding some of the harmful side-effects?
What is slowcial media?
Slowcial media is all about slowing down the rush to connect with tech and making it intentional, meaningful and mindful. It can be applied to the ways in which we use social media – or it can be applied to a whole new type of tech which focuses on mindfulness and meaningful connection.
In that sense, slowcial media can be compared to other ‘slow’ cultural movements to slow down life’s pace, such as the slow food movement or slow fashion, both of which ask for considered consumption, thinking about the sources of products, and emphasising sustainability.
The slow movement is thought to have begun in 1986 when Carlo Petrini protested against the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant near the world-famous Spanish Steps in Rome. His protest sparked the creation of the slow food movement which over time developed into the full-blown slow subculture.
Can using social media itself ever be ‘slow’?
The attention economy and persuasive tech encourages us to use social media at break-neck speed, scrolling from one feed and account to another, FOMO making us worry that we might be missing out. But, we can learn to use social media intentionally and mindfully if we follow a few simple rules:
- Set limits for time spent online.
- Set an intention before you connect with social media – what’s your purpose in using it?
- Keep checking in with how social media makes you feel.
- Use social media to be inspired and informed – follow accounts that celebrate achievement, not appearance.
- Reply thoughtfully to online interactions, pause before responding.
- Put hurdles and obstacles in place to make you slow down before you use apps.
Your hurdles and obstacles can be very personal and specific to you. Some ideas; putting your phone in another room, uninstalling social media apps at certain times, leaving messages for yourself on the home screen of your phone. Think creatively about how you can design behavioural nudges like these to ensure you’re being mindful about your use.
Other uses which help you to go slow
Of course, it’s not just about using social media apps in a way that’s more intentional. There are a range of other apps which exist purely for the purpose of developing mindfulness and meaningful connection. Some ideas might be;
- Headspace – an app for everyday mindfulness and meditation.
- Freedom – an app and website blocker, to enable you to focus and be productive.
- Reflection – a journalling-focused app that guides a meaningful reflection practice.
- Forest – another app to help focus, but this one plants a tree in the real-world if you meet your goals.
The slowcial media action plan
Here’s our simple plan to help you reap the benefits of a more slowcial approach
- Use existing social media and other apps mindfully.
- Prune notifications and alerts that distract you.
- Set an intention every time you use an app that might be encouraging you to be mindless.
- Look for alternatives that encourage meaningful connection.
If you want to try out a full disconnection from tech to slow down, check out all the resources on our website for how to do a digital detox.