Recalling the early days of cell phones, pre-internet access, preloaded with only the game “snake,” the now seemingly unimaginable limitation of characters on each text message, let alone their capped, general exchange, an ember of nostalgia flickers. In those days, as scenes in the early episodes of Sex in The City bear witness and depict, to inform a waiting party of impending delay or worse, need to cancel the evening’s affairs, entirely—if not caught prior to departure, one had to leave message on the home answering machine, or last resort, ring the restaurant to leave word—these the only means for timely notification and communication of a change in one’s current status.
The tech revolution and ensuing upheaval of the aforementioned scenario dotting day-to-day life, offers both exceptionally convenient tools, but also those which when abused, spell demise. This battle between the blessing and curse of an increasingly poised digital world and the bravery advised or tactics to dispel its vice, render prevalent theme of study, debate, and topical commentary—both in print and as viral content populating social media.
Digital Minimalism is a movement in opposition to the clutches posed by our electronic devices. Advocating an approach not of extreme, such as total off-the-grid isolation, but rather structured self-discipline to manage engagement and prevent overwhelming consumption. Cofounder of website The Minimalists, Joshua Fields likens the problem of incessant captivation to confronting “the Bermuda triangle of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.” Aligning with the advice of healthcare professionals against extreme dieting, Fields’ philosophy looks beyond the immediate results of a detox to enlist and build framework of moderation. We live in reality; individually prone to overindulgence of the virtual and digital elements, or not—complete detachment constitutes an absolute ideal, incapable of unbridled adherence.
One side-bar affront to the digital paralysis facing society originates in the Beauty Industry. The formulation of products targeting and marketed to directly combat residual stress induced by over exposure and the hook on all things digital. A surge in both in their production and publicity, reveals a trend—showing no signs of slowing. An example of the foothold established, Shannon Vaughn founded Pursoma, a Beauty company manufacturing bath salts which seeks to diffuse side-effects of the tech phenomenon. Endowing a sensory experience of relaxation, a hot bath when met by the calming effect of select scent, overpowers the urgency imparted by felt constraints of time and offers a natural antidote to the trance-like state inflicted by the allure of ever-lit screens.
Vaughn conceived of the company and product line, Pursoma, in direct response to the symptoms of her own suffering, the physical manifestation of her digital transfix. Enticement of the digital realm antagonizes immersion to threaten total submersion, particularly for those born into a world who know of no other reality. While reluctantly engaging social media as a platform to garner awareness of her products, Vaughn promises reprieve from the obsession; seeking to deliver an education of consumers and rally support of its safe use through Pursoma’s digital campaign.
Until technology arrives at solution to its own impediment—an algorithm which learns through individual interaction, the disbursal of information and a prioritized need for notification—we are left truly, to our own devices.