The Digital Slow Movement

Apr 10th, 2015

Its funny how random thoughts & events converge into an idea.  Here’s how I got to “The Digital Slow Movement”. A slightly longer post.

Random event 1. Driving errands on Monday, April 6, 2015, I listened to the Current on CBC (Canada’s Broadcaster Continues…).

Topic was “Ditch Social Media & FOMO* to Discover the Joy of Missing Out” with two interviewees.

David Maxfield, a co-author of the study “Society’s New Addiction:  Getting a “Like” over Having a Life” said his study finds about 58 per cent of respondents admit that posting the perfect picture has prevented them from enjoying life’s experience.  As a photographer, I find this absolutely fascinating on so many different levels – from the aesthetic & composition quality of pictures to the idea of having a sort of balanced digital life.

Then author Christina Crook told of unplugging from technology and social media for 31 days with her 3 kids to learn firsthand about exploring the world beyond the screen of a phone. She is a journalist and the author of “The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World.”  Apparently the first few days were hard, the rest easier, with an enlightening moment spent sitting and reading a hard copy book of curated information on Italian wines.

Random (sort of) event 2.  This past Tuesday, I conducted my own, limited and highly unscientific social media social experiment when I posted a LinkedIn update fused to Twitter.  It said:  “So I have 793 connections on Linkedin. How many see, hear & respond to what I post? Curious. Its the silent digital majority…”.

The idea was to see who engaged, heard or acknowledged. To date:  4 comments, 4 likes – out of 793 LinkedIn connections.  Good?  Bad?  Indifferent? Jury is out.

Random event 3. I came across this Wired story today. Tweeted it out saying – Fab article on impact of smart design in social media. Fits into my theory of “Digital Slow Movement”.

The headline reads “Social Media Needs More Limitations, Not Choices”.  Woodrow Hartzog writes that “paradoxically, the future of social media is also about providing less. Sometimes the best social media design will constrain invasive and harmful practices. If we want online social interaction to be safe and sustainable, we should embrace the limitations.”  He’s taking it from the privacy and safety perspective, but his argument rests predominantly on design – its innovation, quality and execution.

Random thought 4.  The idea of a balanced social digital class has been bouncing in my mind for awhile.  Can one create an on-line brand, manage it so that Google doesn’t control it, grow it to enhance personal and professional credibility – while maintaining sanity (or what has historically been levied at professional mothers – “work-life-balance”)?  Digital balance without breaking the bank.

So what’s “Digital Slow Movement“? Here are 3 characteristics:

  1. Understanding your digital brand(what you are and want).  Then figure out how to use it (e.g., frequency, platforms, content, timing) and your level of personal and professional commitment.  Digital Slow Movement requires you to shape a confident brand delineating who and what you are.
  2. Pick your platformand be picky.  Social media platforms proliferate faster than mosquitos. Does Snapchat really fit your professional brand (eg., do you want your stuff to disappear after you post)?  Or is Instagram a better fit than Flickr for posting images?  No need to be on everything to everyone at all times.  Better to be on the key channels that fit you and your voice.  Digital Slow Movement requires you to select, stick and stay with the platform, not being seduced with the next bright shiny object (that Dora would follow…).
  3. V-squared.  Value trumps volume. No need to Tweet out the Mike Duffy trial on a minute by minute basis.  Not my job, issue, or brand.  Figuring out who you are and what you are worth shapes your play in the digital world.  Digital Slow Movement suggests you do two things.

First, curate your value.   Meaning think about your authentic voice, and stick to sharing it.  What do you want to say?  Why does it matter to you?  How can you convey it in a way that resonates across many different channels?  Stay true to you.
Second, curtail your volume. You don’t need to hear from me every day, on every channel, on every issue.  Its the opposite.  Slow down, think & figure out how your value fits into a volume proposition that enables people to hear, listen and engage.  Bottom line, avoid the noise.
I’m still figuring all this out. Some might disagree or say I just don’t get it.  But its fun trying, on my own terms.
And apologies for the length of this post.  Sometimes random thoughts take time to sort themselves out.


vision | voice | visuals mine

*FOMO:  Fear of Missing Out.