Scroll More Offline Than Online

Johan Versteegh
3 min readJan 5, 2021

Scrolling is an addictive activity.

The same applies to swiping on a dating app, you just don’t know when to stop.

You tell yourself okay this is the last post I see or the last person that I will swipe left or right.

But somehow you’re still scrolling or swiping 5 minutes later.

Swiping on a dating app has a clear purpose: to connect with someone, however that connection may look like.

When we scroll however, we don’t really know what to expect. Will we see a post, a photo, a video, a quote?

What will that say, why has that person posted that, what is someone random up to in their lives or at this very moment?

That anticipation of a potential funny or shocking post makes us keep scrolling.

We are curious human beings, and scrolling is a superb way to distract ourselves.

You can escape yourself and your life, similar to when you’re watching a TV show.

Only with scrolling you don’t know what surprises await you in that loooong news feed.

It keeps going and going….

Now some social media platforms tell you when you’ve seen everything.

Instagram for example tells you when you’re all caught up.

I have not encountered this message yet, but that’s probably because I don’t scroll often.

Sadly we scroll and scroll when we are not alone.

There are people around us, but somehow we care more for the online persona’s of our friends, strangers, and influencers.

The problem is not so much that we scroll when we’re not alone, it’s that we scroll too much while we should pay attention to our offline environment.

We show more interest in the people who we wouldn’t even call when we are in trouble than the people who really matter to us.

It’s easy to take the people for granted who you see every day.

Friction happens in households which causes uncomfortable situations.

Instead of discussing this friction, the discomfort incentives us to take our phone and scroll.

To see how everyone else is doing in comparison to ourselves.

We don’t ask relevant questions anymore.

We may ask if someone can do the dishes or how their day was, but it doesn’t get deeper than that.

Scroll offline more.

Be interested in the lives of your nearest and dearest.

Notice what they say and don’t say.

Are they doing fine? Are they happy?

Are you helping them or supporting them with their endeavors?

It’s okay to check the virtual world and see what everyone decided to share with their friends and fans.

Let’s not forget though that our offline world needs as much scrolling as well.

That level of curiosity. That level of interest. That level of care.

The next step after noticing and paying attention is to offer any support or to simply acknowledge that person’s efforts.

Go for deeper questions. Deeper conversations.

Show that person in the offline world that you’re able to laser focus on them too.

Gift them with your presence and attention.

Whatever happens to the people in the virtual world won’t have an immediate impact on you.

Make sure that the people you’re surrounded by, love, and cherish, feel supported by you.

Let them feel comfortable, heard, and understood.

Their happiness is your happiness.

Take care of your own offline environment first, that’s where you are most of the time after all.

Originally published at https://www.socialmediabreakup.com on January 5, 2021.

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Johan Versteegh

I help people unchain themselves from their phones and social media. Technology is good, but we need to preserve our mind and spirit. Socialmediabreakup.com.