This is why you need to stop mindless scrolling

This Saturday I deleted Facebook and Messenger from my phone.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about it too? You’ve noticed you’re possibly spending too much time in social media. And you no longer want to share anything. So you just consume.

You’re here, so you might probably be like me: you’re a creative individual who wants to share your art, and you might want to create but you struggle to see the point of it.

And don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you why you have to create. You know yourself the reasons why you want to, or why you have to.

Maybe you think: ”Everyone else is doing it already, why should I? And they do it better than me. Online is saturated with good work!”

Social media posts are like rocks that are thrown in a pond. You get bombed by all these different ideas and styles. It creates hundreds of little ripples, until you can no longer see your own reflection.

You know how it is when you log into Instagram and Facebook. The time you log in there is when you don’t have anything real to do. Maybe you need a break from whatever you’re doing. Or even worse: maybe it’s just a habit to do it at a certain time of the day, like before falling to sleep.

You open the app and you stare at the screen. You browse down all the things that come to your way. And subcounsciously you might be looking for answers to these things:

”I wonder what my friends are doing.”

”I wonder if I run into something interesting.”

”I wonder if there is a notification for me that needs action.”

”I wonder if this platform can offer me answers or inspiration.”

”I wonder if I do this for a while I get enough of it and get off my ass.”

In a way, you’re externalizing the call to action and you’re feeding the ”fear of missing out” -syndrome.

Of course it doesn’t end there. Because the more we rely on the internet, the more we think it can bring solutions to all of our problems. In the beginning, we mainly looked for information. Then it became more social. Now we secretly want it to fill all of our needs.

A little while ago I really took some time to think about why would someone be in the internet. Why would anyone care about my content. Why would anyone consume any platform. And I came up with these motives:

People want to: 

  • Be Heard and Seen
  • Be Entertained
  • Be Touched
  • Learn
  • Be Appreciated
  • Be Accepted (hear stories we can relate to)

Knowing that these are the reasons why people scroll, these are the motives why anyone would want to consume your content. So let’s say, if you’re posting a picture of your muffin or coffee, it needs to somehow fall under one (or more) of these categories.

That is, when you’re on a competitive social media site like Instagram and Facebook that are based on post popularity.

But what if you just want to share something about your life and not think about what use it is for someone else? What if you don’t want everything to be about the brand and about quality and about the reader.

Then get off the social platform. Those popular platforms are often built on feeding competition. Create a safe place where you can create a thing just for yourself, without having the pressure to make it socially successful. Don’t do it in a place where everyone is trying to ”crack the success code.”

If you want to share something about your life, let’s say you’d want to either unload or have a good conversation or have some fun interaction with your friends, you need a specific platform. A place where your friends are, where the whole world is not watching or where they aren’t searching for daily lotteries like people do from FB or IG. A place where a possible bully wouldn’t come to pull you down. Or the amount of likes.

The best homebase is a place where it’s okay to be ignored. In social media platforms, we easily get hooked to wanting to ”win the game.” And you win the game when your post is a lottery win to a bunch of people.

That means your content has to be amazing.

That’s a lot of pressure though, isn’t it?

What about creating for fun?

My advice is: Don’t create content specifically for social media. Let the social media platforms be a window to what you’re actually doing outside of it. Because if those platforms are once gone, you’ll lose the intellectual property that you put into those posts. The loss isn’t that big if your source is somewhere else, and the social media is mainly an extension of the main idea of what you’re trying to do.

In my opinion: at best, a social media platform is a place for a community that inspires you to keep doing what you do, consistently. Caused by the positive feedback loop and a good kind of pressure that comes from posting. And connecting with like-minded people that happen to be in the platform.

Warning example number 1: My experience with Flickr

I used to have that positive community in Flickr. That site really kicked off my photography hobby some years ago, to a point where I actually got quite good. When they changed a site policy and decided to limit photos, I could no longer post, and I lost interest in photography almost completely.

I don’t blame just the site. I mean, I had already shifted to painting and drawing. But I failed to reconnect with my Flickr connections through Instagram and whenever I take photos now, I feel like there’s no point in posting them anywhere, because there is no home base, like Flickr was.

Things would have been different if my home base would have been somewhere else in the first place, and Flickr had only been a window to the source.

Example 2: Croquis Cafe

I don’t know if it’s a really warning example, because thank goodness they also had their content somewhere else. BUT I do feel it’s a good example nevertheless. Croquis Cafe (onairvideo) which had nude people posing for artists to draw, had all of their content taken off Youtube because of a new nudity policy. They moved to Vimeo, losing a ton of followers and possible donors.

I love that they shared their content for free but I do think they should have moved their content to a place where they could just monetize it and keep their videos safe. Just my opinion.

Overall I do find that Youtube is a very different and more healthy platform than Instagram or Facebook, because videos tend to take a LOT of work. Instead of consuming 2 seconds of random stuff, you’re feeding your brain with something that needs your focus a little bit more. So in a way you’re automatically consuming something more healthy for your brain. There’s a lot more well-thought quality content there.

So all that is to say, if you’ve sunken into the game of gaining followers for numbers and spending time to grind new connections just for likes, you’re most probably wasting your time – big time.

If you’re there to share what you love, you’re doing something beautiful. But don’t do it to win the game. If you want to win the game, you need to do it for others first and then to yourself. And there’s a chance that your focus is drifting away from the reasons why you actually want to create.

And you know what? Sometimes we just got to do stuff for ourselves. To see our own reflection.

if you want to scroll and have fun, that’s fine! I just hope that if you’re scrolling, you know what you’re looking for – you’re genuinely interested in your friends or looking for a certain type of content you know you want to consume, and you’re not doing it to fill a void. The moment you become a consumer, a mindless scroller, you’re getting lost in the ripples.

Peace out! Leave a comment or don’t. Just enjoy your day today.


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