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Saturday, July 13, 2024

What does Digital Detox mean for the new digital industry?

Trine Syvertsen has again fascinated us with a reflexive and nuanced discussion of our guilt-ridden and ambivalent engagement with digital media… A must-read for anyone who has ever owned a smart-phone!’

– Göran Bolin, Professor, Södertörn University, Author of Media Generations and Value and The Media: The Shaping of Culture in Media and Society

Online and social media now shape even our most mundane activities (after all the toilet is a favoured place to check your smartphone) and present us with constant dilemmas about our online and offline presence.   Digital media is criticised for being addictive, destroying personal relationships, undermining productivity, and invading privacy.  Against a backdrop of increasingly intrusive technologies, this book explores the digital detox phenomenon and the politics of disconnecting from invasive media.

Based on extensive research and interviews with media users, author Trine Syvertsen from the University of Oslo, discusses how media industries intensify the quest for attention, how companies and governments team up to get everybody online, and how the main responsibility for managing online risks and problems is placed on the users’ shoulders.

With a wealth of examples, Syvertsen demonstrates how many users are choosing to reduce their online engagement through time-limitations, restrictions on smartphone use, productivity apps, and use of analogue media.

Digital Detox explores how this form of disconnecting has much in common with other forms of self-help such as mindfulness, decluttering and simple living and how it places digital detox within a culture of self-optimisation. But digital detox is also about sustaining face-to-face conversations, better work-life-balance, a deeper connection with nature and more meaningful interpersonal relationships.

With a wealth of examples, analyses and stories, Digital Detox is a thoughtful and nuanced guide to why digital detox and disconnection has become an important topic, how it is practised and what it says about the state of media industries and how people express resistance in the 21st century.


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