Thanks for asking!
What I mean by digital dilemma is any sort of unique challenge that we now have to face as a result of our heavy technology use and digital media consumption.
Growing up online, struggling through my own identity crises and awkward adolescence, I feel like I was very susceptible to the challenges that come with being handed an iPhone from a young age. I think that I also had it worse than other people my age because I’m so introverted. So instead of being surrounded by friends in person, I spent a lot of time online. I lived vicariously through others because being around people is oddly overwhelming and draining for me.
I first got on Facebook when I was 13 years old and slowly since that day the online world began to impact me one picture, one like, one comment, one friend, one “unfriend,” one notification, one week, one month, and one year at a time. Until finally when I was a junior in college it finally hit me how much digital media had taken a toll on my mental, emotional, and physical health.
When I started Lost Online, I came up with the phrase “digital dilemma” as a way to describe all of it. For example, the way I used my phone caused Text Neck, photoshop and photo filters gave me a distorted body image, and “likes” caused feelings of self-worthlessness. I was also impacted by how the anonymity of the online world causes cyberbullying, and many more challenges that I slowly hope to cover through this blog.
Digital dilemmas could be anything. I use that phrase to describe those challenges that we face during this time in history while making them seem less overwhelming and more manageable. A dilemma means that there is a challenge with two or more alternatives. I use that word intentionally because when it comes to each unique challenge that we face and using technology carefully, there are countless opinions, perspectives, ideas, and solutions for how to do it.
For example, when it comes to our online world, you could choose to say goodbye to social media altogether, use it consciously (whatever that means for you), or allow yourself to become completely lost in it. With each digital dilemma that we face, there are tons of ways that we can choose to approach it. How you or I get a hold of our technology use so it’s a tool rather than an all-consuming distraction is different for each of us. There is no right way to manage it and it’s safe to say that we’re all learning on our own.
I like to talk about these issues on Lost Online because I’ve seen how the internet made growing up as a young, vulnerable, introverted woman so much more difficult for me – and I know that I can’t be the only one. I want to talk about digital dilemmas on my platform in hopes that it will spark conversation, remind you that you’re not alone in the challenges that you face, and provide tips that could be helpful.
If you want to read some of my digital dilemma posts, I recommend “My Positive Approach to Hurtful Online Comments & Why They Don’t Faze Me,” “Text Neck: How My Cell Phone Use Affected My Physical Development,” or “The iPhone Makeover: How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Your Phone.”
I hope this helps!
Wishing you the best,
I’ve been waiting for the day someone would ask me this question!
Yes, I do talk a lot about the downsides of social media and spending all day, everyday scrolling on our devices. I share my own experience growing up online and I talk about how chaotic this digital era is because there’s just so much noise now! There’s so much content, ads, and notifications we don’t even know what to do with ourselves!
But, at the same time, I’m a blogger and content creator. Five to six days a week my job revolves around creating blog posts, creating social media content, and attracting a following for my personal brand and for work. For that reason, I can clearly see the pros and cons of our technology and social media. I can see how it’s negatively affected people BUT I can also see how it’s a tool. It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship for me. One one hand, I’m completely amazed by our ability to create information that can be seen all over the world. On the other hand, I can’t stand it. How I’m feeling usually depends on the kind of day I’m having.
That’s why, as a content creator, I try to make sure that I’m not adding to the noise. I try to make sure that the images and information I’m putting out into your online world will add value to your life. I make sure that I’m sharing content that is honest, authentic, informational, and inspiring. I don’t want to be someone who does nothing but clutter up your inbox with meaningless email blasts or fills your feed with more selfies. I want to use technology to connect with people and bring awareness to the issues that I think are important. That’s how I relate my message to the work that I do on Lost Online.
To answer your last question, I do believe that’s it’s possible to find balance as a content creator, although some days it is hard! I’m not going to deny that. There are days when I find myself being sucked into my website, my feed, or my engagement and I feel overwhelmed. It happens to us all and it’s just a challenge that is unique to our time. When I find myself feeling like I need a break from my computer or social media, I’ll walk away from it. I take off the Apple Watch, put my phone on silent, and leave my computer in another room. Then, I find my sense of balance again through exercising, meditation, or going outside. I noticed those are the quickest and most effective ways to ground myself after I’ve become caught up in my devices and “Lost Online.”
The biggest challenge of mine is that I have a growing website and I see myself doing this type of work for years to come, so I feel guilty when I step away. I’m working on creating a personal brand so I feel like I have to be working 100% of the time! Otherwise, I get down about myself and feel lazy or unproductive, or convince myself that taking a day off will kill my chances of becoming successful. After I saw that pattern of mine, I realized that I have to put away my devices and actually say out loud, “I’m giving myself permission to not work on anything right now.” (Ask Matt, I actually do that.) Since I’ve started that habit I’m able to step away so I can feel refreshed and guilt-free.
In the beginning, I worried that people would think my message was hypocritical as a blogger, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I think I’ve learned how to find a balance myself and how to use this platform to bring awareness to this issue and how we can stay sane without swearing off the social media and smartphones.
I hope this helps!
Wishing you the best,
I love that this is becoming a conversation lately. I think the pressure for likes has been such an issue for over a decade that it’s about time these social media platforms start addressing it and start to evaluate whether “likes” should even exist.
Here’s what I think…
I think that social media has caused unnecessary pressure to fit in. I think it’s caused so many bad days and feelings of self-worthlessness because it puts a number at the bottom of a photo that shows you how many people “like” you and what you’re doing. Plus, I think it’s become a much bigger issue than we think it is. For young kids growing up online, the pressure to be liked, to fit in, to appear popular is everything that matters to them. So yes, I do think that we should get rid of likes.
In theory, I think it would be a good idea. I stopped caring about likes after I started to post about the things that mattered to me and saw my engagement drop by the hundreds. It’s extremely frustrating to pour your energy in social media, to be vulnerable, to share personal information only to be unliked and unfriended. It’s about time that stops.
Now, I say in theory because although it would be nice to remove the aspect of likes on social media, I don’t know how it would play out. I think that liking should still be a component of social media, but I think that only the owner of the account should be able to see it. The reason being, that there are so many content creators that make a living off of social media, so removing the liking altogether could potentially cost people their livelihood. Influencers need to see the insights and engagement in order to show it to partners and brands.
For that reason, I think likes shouldn’t disappear, but rather be made private. BUT, in doing that, people might stop liking all together. They might not even see the point in liking something once others can’t see it. Some people like or choose to not like a photo because of the bandwagon effect. So it could either make them stop liking or it could make them like photos freely.
This change is not going to be as simple as removing the like option. Once this change is made, it’s going to drastically change social media platforms and probably even the layout of them, or how we find accounts and fresh content. It’ll be very interesting to see how it plays out over time and I don’t know exactly how that will go.
However, I think the much BIGGER issue than the likes that platforms should be focusing on changing is the algorithm (cough, cough Instagram). The reason why people aren’t getting likes anymore is not that they aren’t popular, it’s because of the algorithm. It’s the algorithm that social media platforms use that controls the order of posts users see on their feed. Back in the day, Instagram used a chronological feed. You remember! Since they switched to their algorithm, there are posts from friends I don’t see for hours or days which is completely infuriating. I may have followed someone for 6 years, but I don’t see their posts at all!
Here’s a good example, I have an old friend who is a fashion designer that’s been aboard for several weeks. Somehow I haven’t seen a single one of her photos for the last two months. I assumed she just wasn’t posting. But one day, a photo of her in London shows up in the middle of my feed and says that it was posted 16 hours ago. When I clicked on her profile, I saw that I had missed weeks worth of photos and all of her adventures in Europe.
So to answer your question, yes, we should probably be parting ways with likes in the future. But I really believe the algorithm is the bigger problem. Regular people with personal accounts, content creators, influencers, brands, and digital media companies can all agree that the algorithm has been the biggest headache and incredibly discouraging.
That’s my take! I hope you enjoyed!
Wishing you the best,
Thanks for reaching out! I love talking about this subject!
I think when you should take a digital detox completely depends for each individual. I know people seem to have their own suggestions about how frequently you should take a detox from social, but I don’t have any. I think you should take a digital detox whenever you feel like you need it, whenever you feel like social media is causing you additional stress or dissatisfaction. Some examples of this include:
- When you feel down, anxious, or depressed
- When you feel like living in a comparison mindset
- When you spend that majority of your time scrolling
- When you feel an overwhelming pressure for likes
- When you feel like you’re living to create posts
- When you’re getting angry about people unfriending you
I could go on forever. I take a break from social for a few days or a week whenever I start to feel like I need a break. When social media has been draining me and bringing up negative emotions. You’ll know when it’s best for you to take a step back.
I’m also glad you asked how to take a digital detox, and I do actually have a detailed blog post on this called, “How to Have an Instagram Detox.” I’m glad that you asked how because if you are taking a digital detox, it’s not just because you probably spend too much time on social media. Most people take a break when they realize it’s impacting their mental health, their energy, their motivation, or their self-confidence.
If you’re taking a detox, instead of just removing the app, it’s important to fill that time that you would have spent on social media engaging in healthy behaviors to reset your mind and focus on what’s important. It could be reading, journaling, exercising, calling a friend, planning a trip, cooking, cleaning out your house, taking a class, etc. Really anything that benefits your physical, mental, or emotional health. Use the time that you would spend scrolling, creating posts, or seeing who viewed your story to do something better for yourself. Social media has become more than just a distraction but an obstacle for our relationships, physical health, or spirituality.
Use that time to do something else. The truth is, you already know what’s best for you. So put the phone down, read your damn book, do your damn laundry, meditate, see a therapist. Do what will give you health and happiness that you can’t get from your iPhone.
I hope this helps!
Wishing you the best,