Has your mind been hijacked?

I love barefoot shoes. I love natural movement. I love sharing these things with the world. But, if you only read one of my posts, let it be this one. 

I watched this docudrama, and have been shaking my head in disbelief ever since. It is being described by Netflix as exploring “the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.”

So I knew that social media giants mine data, and monitor what we are doing to some degree, but it never bothered me that much because I figured….I always have a choice. I have a choice what to click, I have a choice when to put the phone down. 

I’ll never forget coming out of a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in Ireland, feeling absolute peace and contentment. It was time to collect my belongings (mobile phones were confiscated for the duration of the retreat). I wasn’t alone in feeling complete dread at the thought of switching on my phone again and entering back into that world. 

Why are we doing this to ourselves? If we are completely honest, the majority of us would say we hate spending so much time on our phones. So why do it? Because, as soon as we get on there, our psychology is hijacked! Algorithms are placed and exploited to predict and influence human behaviour. Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google compares our phones to slot machines. “Each time you’re swiping down, it’s like a slot machine,” he says. “You don’t know what’s coming next. Sometimes it’s a beautiful photo. Sometimes it’s just an ad.” This feeds into the ‘pull to refresh’ function. Every time we pull down to refresh our timeline, we don’t know what we’ll discover. It’s a nice distraction from everyday life. If I am having a moment of worry, frustration, or plain boredom, there is my adult pacifier just waiting for me to check out my Instagram stories. It’s alluring, it draws you in and makes you keep coming back. And if you disengage, you get peppered with little messages to grab your attention and pull you back in. My favourite one is “you’ve been tagged in someone’s photo.” Now that’s an impossible one to ignore, well done Facebook. 

But here’s the thing, I am as guilty as the creators of these platforms. I create posts, and stories to grab your attention. 

Why, because I want to grow my following. 

Why, because I want more people to know about barefoot footwear and natural movement. 

My intentions are genuine, but I am making efforts to draw you in, to take you away from your REAL life to spend time on my profile. And the worst thing is that when I am out with my family, my 5-year-old reminds me that I should really photograph a certain landscape or activity to put on Instagram. Here’s a 5-year-old, living completely in the now, and I have already somehow implanted the idea in her head that moments of presence need to be documented on social media. And she has taken part in all my unboxing videos. On the screen, it looks so innocent and sweet, right? The reality is its bullshit. 

I still want to share barefoot footwear that is good for your body, and for the planet. But I don”t want to take you away from your lives. You all have one life. And it is way too important to spend scrolling images of barefoot shoes, no matter how gorgeous (and sustainable!) they are. So, from today, I will be changing a few things on my Instagram, for my benefit and hopefully the benefit of my readers.

✔ I will be removing all story highlights.

✔ I won’t be posting any more stories.

✔ I won’t be posting any more unboxing videos.

✔ Each post on my feed will be mindfully chosen and written, and images 100% unfiltered.

✔ I will focus more on building my website than on growing my Instagram.

I will leave you all with the trailer to the documentary so you can decide for yourself whether to watch it or not. Thankfully, there are lots of good ideas at the end for how we can help ourselves and our children. Check out their website here with lots of information including this great app.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this, it is really very much appreciated. I bought the book “How to break up with your phone” but definitely haven’t broken up with it. This is a helpful reminder.

  2. I can’t stand unboxing videos, but I love reviews. The amount of time I spend on the FB fan pages is ridiculous, but I sense that many others are equal or worse offenders. The Social Dilemma was excellent and scary. I’m thinking of scheduling my social media time to be done at two distinct periods of the day: morning and afternoon. But doing it is hard. The distraction and pseudo-entertainment is addictive. Thank you for writing this post.

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