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Issue 05: The Slow Scroll
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Welcome to Issue 05


Can you believe that half of 2019 is already almost over? Let's slow it down and take a deep dive into digital addiction. Is it real or are we all just making excuses for ourselves and each other? Read on for more. 

Digital Addiction Or a Powerful Social Norm? 

There's a famous experiment that revealed much how addiction works: put a rat in a cage with two bottles of water, one laced with cocaine and one without. Inevitably, the ran will become addicted to the drugged water—but, if the rat is also provided with stimulation like an exercise wheel and friends, the rat will steer clear and choose the clean hydration. 

So while 'social media addiction' has been trending in our vernacular for a few years, the dopamine we receive from our devices isn't coming from the notification itself, but rather the social validation. 

Instead of framing the issue as addiction, we can take back power over our digital habits by simply changing where we expect to find our friends and family—this article interestingly argues for a change in social norms and in expectations for having social media accounts (read: it shouldn't be a horror story plot). 

Modern Art + Digital Addiction

It's a sure sign of the times when there is a flood of movies, plays, and books that depend on plot devices like social media addiction—Black Mirror just released an entire episode dedicated to its potentially ravaging effects

And while "art that uses digital compulsion as plot device serves as a useful reminder to continually scrutinize how technology shapes our own life choices"—perhaps what we need in the 21st century canon is more works of art and dialogue that portray how we can use technology in a positive manner. 

One example: Instagram just launched a public awareness campaign around mental health. With the hashtag #RealTalk, people are encouraged to share their own stories to empower themselves and realize that they are not alone. 

IRL Prompt: Use A Tactile To-Do List 

If you find yourself adding to-dos to your phone or laptop and find yourself overwhelmed with the growing list, we recommend this hack used by artist Jennifer May Reiland:

"I started using a real diary to physically write down my tasks. Because it was so much more of an effort to pull out my notebook and pen, I really had to want to do whatever I was adding to the list. Once my schedule became more analog, everything became much more intentional."

If you try it out, feel free to reach out to us here to let us know, and with any other thoughts, feedback, or tips!

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?


Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.
Send this to a friend who needs to slow down. Then tell them it's okay if they forget their phone at home.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

Emily Lin, Producer


Mailing Address
IRL Labs
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Oakland, CA 94623
Copyright © 2019 IRL Labs, All rights reserved.
The Slow Scroll is a curated newsletter dedicated to helping you live IRL. 
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