Each Monday, Julio Vincent Gambuto presents “Modern Muting” — a weekly Medium story series dedicated to helping readers step back from all the bullshit of modern life, create quiet, re-evaluate, then go forward boldly. It’s 500 words a week of “self-help meets the system.”
Social media, digital capitalism, what I call “click-up economics” — they’re all designed for you and me to be always on. That is a business strategy of the Big Forces: Big Tech, the Big Banks, Big Media, Big Brands, and the Big Parties. If you and I are always on, getting brand messages to us is seamless, frictionless, and has fewer and fewer pain points. The system is designed to reach you everywhere always. It saves them money (fewer marketing dollars need to be spent to reach you) but makes our lives relentless. And loud. And needy.
That’s why I have taken social media off my phone. Delete. It’s a radical move. But one that has improved my life dramatically. I am now active on socials twice a week at designated and regular times, and only on my laptop. Moving socials to your computer only — whether that’s in your lap, on your desk, in the den or in the office — does two critical things that are key to winning the battle for our behavior that is raging in modern life.
One, it slows your online interactions down. The Big Forces depend on speed to make the system superhuman. We are humans. We don’t need to interact at the speed of light or “blazing” 10G. On your phone, socials are just a click away. You click the app that is staring you in the face; it opens. It acts a constant emotional salve. No matter where we are physically, if we feel bad, bored, confused, upset, we can just scroll on social, get lost in the trance of images and videos. On your laptop, which you generally can’t take everywhere, your socials are websites again — ones you have to seek out, enter a URL, and (sometimes) log into. It’s a tiny difference, but it adds up. And it makes your social-media interactions much more intentional.
Two, it puts limits back. It has been a 20-year seduction, in which Big Tech has sold us a very sexy story that unlimited equals good. Not true. Unlimited traps us in endless cycles that erode our ability to focus on what truly matters in our lives. Limits, set by you and me…