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Digital Minimalism: Responsible use of social media

Cal Newport, a professor and celebrated author of the book ‘Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World’ outlined his approach on digital minimalism where he spends his time online “on a small number of carefully selected activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.” In this article, we’ll take a look at how technology and the digital space has impacted our lives and how we can adapt to digital minimalism. 

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. It involves having all you need and restricting yourself from acquiring additional unnecessary things that end up cluttering your surroundings and your life.  Digital minimalism applies the same principle to our personal technology. It is the art of knowing what is enough for you, and how to regulate your usage, preventing overuse and ultimately,  addiction.  

 

The situation in Kenya.

Kenya is one of the most technologically advanced countries in Africa. With our impressive tech startups and incubation hubs, we keep on creating more tech oriented solutions that benefit the Kenyan mwananchi. Back to digital minimalism, let’s look at the latest social media statistics in Kenya:

  • 84% of Kenyans now have access to the Internet and 8.2 million of them (16%) are active social media users. 
  • 72% of us use Internet services every single day of which we spend an average of 2 hours and 47 minutes on social media.

The increased connectivity has it’s wins and losses. Apart from the obvious negative effects modern tech: laziness, over-dependence on gadgets and reduced concentration, it has enabled us to have access to vast information right at our fingertips. We are now able to get the news as it happens, to record and instantly share moments with our loved ones and of course, businesses are now able to target their ideal customers with greater accuracy. With regards to the economy, social media and overall the digital connectivity has improved the quality of products and services we get as consumers, and more businesses can be operated without a brick and mortar location. As with anything else in our lives, regulation is key. Being responsible users and marketers on social media will provide sustainable solutions for everyone.

So how can digital minimalism benefit both the consumers and businesses?

As Digital 4 Africa, we advocate for responsible use of digital media. For businesses, this means offering valuable information to your consumers online, creating a community of brand loyalists and advocates. Content marketing should be human centered and focus on the end consumer. Understanding what your audience wants and providing that need is key for your brand and it will make you stand out from the rest of the pack. Digital minimalism doesn’t have to hurt businesses as long as their content is of value to their audience.

For consumers, it means being responsible about what we consume and how often we consume it. Information overload is a real issue that affects our mental health and concentration and the only way to avoid it is to learn how not to let everything in and setting aside enough time for other important activities. 

In the end, digital minimalism can be a great way for both marketers, businesses and consumers to win, while creating a safe and sustainable digital environment for the future.

By Nakhabi Jacqueline– copywriter