Lucas Brenner » Articles » Philosophy of Technology Use

Declaring War on Social Networks

All social media apps, websites and platforms on the Internet are designed to keep users engaged for as long and as often as possible. The longer your watch time is, the more ads you see and the more money the company makes.

The only way to break out of this vicious circle is to consciously shape your technology and media consumption. This conscious consumption of digital media is called digital minimalism.[1]

The goal of digital minimalism is to use technology and networks productively without being addicted to them. It's about feeling comfortable using your devices.

Step 1: Digital Decluttering

First, you have to declutter your digital life. You should deactivate all notifications you don't need, delete unused or unnecessary accounts, uninstall all distracting apps, and say goodbye to unused programs.

Probably the hardest step is to change your social media consumption. Social media in particular is responsible for today's technology addiction. You should limit the use of the platforms and perhaps stop using some sites altogether.

An example would be to only use Instagram for a certain period of time to stay up to date.

Step 2: Set Clear Rules

The second step is to critically examine your technology use and establish appropriate rules. These rules apply to all optional technology. Optional technology is tech which is not necessary in either personal, nor professional life. It's best to incorporate these rules into your morning and evening routines.

The main rule of digital minimalism is: Only use services or technologies that have a clear purpose, are the best way to fulfill that purpose, and whose use is limitable.

In addition, you can and should still set your own rules that are customized for you. These rules need to be constantly adjusted as media consumption changes over time.

My Technology Rules

I have noticed that I mainly use YouTube as a social network. But I don't want to give up this network either, because the videos of the channels I subscribed to are great. However, I would like to limit my use of the platform.

Also, I've noticed that I frequently look at my phone just to aimlessly scroll around because I am bored.

Based on these observations, I've come up with three key technology rules for myself.


[1] Cal Newport explains this concept in his book “Digital Minimalism.”