It’s probably not possible to quantify the number of people in the world who do what we’ve all done:
opened up a smartphone and browsed.
And browsed some more.
Somewhere in the midst of all the content; the memes, the quips, the self-disclosures, and the #blessed stories lies some little piece of satisfaction. It might take a little while to find, but it’s there. Or so we tell ourselves.
Truthfully, we’re there because it’s easy. There are no challenges or heartbreaks in the scroll. Nothing is at risk. Yet if we we find something of interest, the feeling we get from it is fleeting. Within a few minutes, we’re back to scrolling for the next stimulation. Why?
I think at times we struggle to define a purpose for ourselves and apply it to all that we do. A college student knows she’s in school to earn a degree, but what’s the purpose of the two hour dinner she just had by herself while thumbing through YouTube? The construction worker knows he’s on a job site to pour the concrete foundation for a new hospital wing, but what’s the purpose of his checking Facebook once an hour?
These struggles exist because of our inability to integrate the Internet and its related technologies into our lives in meaningful ways. In other words our utilization of connectivity mostly lacks purpose. Even more than that, I’d argue that our senses of purpose are usually not strong enough to overcome the temptation of the scroll. Our senses of purpose are more like vacuum we struggle to fill with something far too fleeting.
Perhaps we need to evaluate the strength of those senses instead. Perhaps we need to change the strategy in how we spend our free time to something that is far more intentionally and far less centered around filling a void.