Forget FOMO. In Digital Minimalism, It’s All About The Fear Of … – Fast Company

“We certainly are not advocating that you should cut out all your digital devices,” Vaughn says. “I don’t think that works, and I don’t think it’s practical. But it’s good to take time out. Like, say, ‘Every day this week, no one’s going to have their phone at their table,’ or, ‘I’m not going to wake up with my phone; I’ll set an alarm clock.’”

Pursoma’s sales have doubled in the last year, driven primarily by female consumers in their 30s and 40s. One of the brand’s most successful marketing coups was a social media campaign that advocated getting off social media. The #SafeSocial campaign asked fans to photograph non-tech activities, upload the photos, and then turn off their phones. A prize of free salts was awarded to whoever had the best “disconnected” photo. The winner was notified via social media.

At first, Vaughn resisting marketing on social channels, but eventually decided it was the only way to reach the document-everything millennials. She recognizes the irony of it all, but hopes, with #SafeSocial, she can help the pendulum swing the other way: What if we made signing off the cool thing to do?

Instilling such behavior in the youngest users of digital media is difficult. Calvin Newport observes a stark generational split between twentysomething millennials and people over 35. While older generations easily recall a time before social media, before the internet was centralized by a handful of time-suck platforms, the youngest millennials never knew a Facebook-less worldwide web. “They see [social media] as the internet,” Newport says.

Celebrity millennials including Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, and Kendall Jenner have undergone temporary detoxes from social media, but so far, no one in their star-studded peer group has taken up the minimalism cause to potentially influence their millions of impressionable tween and teenage fans. There have been reports of teens cutting back, and this past March, Teen Vogue talked up the trend, referring to detoxing as “going ’90s.” But according to a recent survey by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, kids between ages 8 to 18 average nine hours and 22 minutes of daily screen time—of which seven hours are for recreational use.

Michael Robb, Common Sense Media’s director of research, says digital consumption shows no indication of going down. There is shift in what they’re consuming—a migration from television to smartphones—but according to recent surveys, minimalism has not caught on within any age group. “It seems pretty clear that parents are using as much media as their kids are,” Robb says.


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