Three Week Digital Minimalism Human Study Results

30 Jan 2019 - Vivian Hir

3 Week Digital Minimalism Human Study Results

It has been around 3 weeks since I started the digital minimalism  

experiment. I wouldn't say I am a serious digital minimalist because I have  

to admit I sometimes use the internet to search up things that aren't my  

top priority. Some are important, but not as of the present moment. I will  

break down what I learned from not being on some websites I used to be on  

quite often. I hope my experience will help you consider what you can do to  

change your relationship with technology.


  1. Blogs


Before: I used to read my favorite blog, MIT Admissions blogs, on the  

weekends, but then it gradually became something on a daily basis if there  

was a new blog. Even if it has provided me with a lot of information about  

MIT student life and culture, I think reading it was kind of unhealthy. I  

probably spent more time on this than YouTube.


After: I learned that missing out isn't necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed  

commenting on their posts and reading some inspirational blogs, but it  

became a habit that made me think about MIT everyday. I didn't want to  

become obsessed with college, so I decided that it wasn't bad to take a  

break from it. Just as what Danny and Allan G. from the blogs said, reading  

these blogs religiously gave them a lot of pressure, as if that was their  

only choice. I learned that even if I am very interested in the blogs, it  

doesn't mean I have to read it every single time. I think I would read them  

around decision and essay season.


  1. YouTube


Before: I used to watch YouTube videos for leisure on the weekends around  

15-20 minutes a day for a total of 40 minutes. Some videos on my  

recommended were tempting to watch but didn't really have any meaningful  

value or good content, such as reactions to colleges decisions or scores.  

There were some vlogs that caught my attention but didn't really interest  

me but I still clicked on it.


After: I realized that my life is more peaceful because now my brain  

doesn't have to remind myself to check YouTube on the weekends. I got rid  

of FOMO from YouTube. As of now, my life isn't worse off without YouTube  

because there are other forms of entertainment. For this period, I used  

YouTube for videos related to school or projects. What I learned was that I  

didn't need to watch videos on my recommended because the channels I  

subscribed to had better content than some recommended ones. I think  

YouTube is helpful if you watch videos about self-help and advice, such as  

Thomas Frank and John Fish. In my opinion, I think watching his videos were  



  1. LinkedIn


Before: When my mom would bring up this smart kid everyone in the community  

knew or her friend's kids that attended an Ivy League school, I would  

search up their LinkedIn profile to know what they were studying and what  

achievements they had in high school. Although it gave me some glimpse  

about them, it made me have lower self-esteem because I was comparing  

my "brag sheet" to theirs. It made me feel quite mediocre.


After: I don't go on LinkedIn because I don't need to go on LinkedIn as I  

am not finding jobs or anything. It has made me stop comparing myself to  

other geniuses because I don't know their GPA, scores, or awards. If I am  

going to become an intern, I probably need one.


  1. News


Before: I would search up daily news headlines on Google and read the  

headlines briefly. It gradually became an automatic habit. Although it  

didn't take up much of my time, it was kind of pointless.


After: Although I spent little time on the news, it took away a bit of  

digital declutter. I believe that it is important to be informed about  

current events, but I would eventually hear about these events from my  

family or my classmates. It wasn't necessary to search them up.


Even if we all use similar websites, I know that everyone's digital life is  

unique. Is technology holding you back from what you want your life to be?  

Remember that unhappiness happens when our expectations in life doesn't  

align with what actually happens in life, and you have some control over  

that when it comes to technology. Practice mindful curiosity. Think of what  

you feel when you consume lots of digital media. It is not enough to know  

something is bad for you. Once you connect that experience with what you  

felt (physically, emotionally, mentally), then it is a lot easier to end a  

bad habit.

Vivian Hir is a high school student who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her blogs can be found here. Constructive feedback is appreciated.