Speaking of attention spans, social media has quickly risen to hold an outsized amount of our attention as a culture. The average person spends 147 minutes daily across all social media, with the numbers skewing much higher depending on your demo. Before social media, there was television, and before that, radio.
We can debate which of these mediums is the most dangerous to the human psyche, but the fact remains: since the dawn of media, we have struggled with tuning in and then tuning out. (I won’t go back as far as the printed word because the way reading engages the brain is entirely different.)
I am not here to tell you to get off social media, cancel Netflix, or only read books for the rest of your days. That isn’t realistic. Furthermore, social media has some positives:
- It connects us from great distances.
- It can be used as a catalyst for change.
- We can create value and beauty in the world.
It is the last one I want to focus on.
If you find yourself aimlessly scrolling for hours a day, flip the whole thing on its head by creating something instead. Don’t just throw the phone away. Please take it as a challenge to create instead of consume. Balance your passive viewing with active, creative production. If that sounds stupid or hard, maybe you should delete that app. But the challenge of making something has intrinsic value and learning to create within the mediums of the day has always been something humans have done.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying to try to make it a career or become an influencer. I am talking about you taking steps to create instead of only consuming – just for the sake of it, no matter what happens – whether three people watch it or 5,000.
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If you are like the average person, social media is already taking more of your attention than is probably healthy, but instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, take my challenge: make something good today on social, just for the practice.