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An ethical argument for being offline

burnout culture disruptor entrepreneur leadership modelling behaviour Oct 23, 2023

I'm just back from my recent retreat in the Dordogne region of France. It was sublime by the way, you should come next year (message me for the dates and early bird details).

I posted a couple of times when it felt authentic and joyful, but then I went on radio silence.

Of course I 'know better'. I KNOW we're all supposed to schedule ahead and keep the algorithm fed, but here's my question:


What's the end game here? WHY are we supposed to appease the algorithm gods by giving the appearance of constantly being online like some sort of machine?

YOU are not a machine, and yet, the current culture is inviting you to behave in such a way that you are monotonously consistent so that you please the [current] whims of a MACHINE. What the what?

It's become so normalised that we don't even question it anymore, but what's the end game?

Where do we want this to take us?

What kind of culture are we building and what kind of expectation and burden are we laying on the generations coming up behind us?

We have created a system that does not care whether the human behind it flourishes. Why should it, there are plenty more business people and creators coming along to keep the algorithms happy. The losers in this scenario are not the companies designing the algorithms. 

Now this is not to be all conspiracy theorist or anything like that. Nope, not going there. What I AM advocating is paying attention to what you are putting out there and what you are communicating because each of us is shaping culture by our actions.

So you may place money as your highest value, and so, for you, being present every day even when you're not is something you're comfortable with.

Socially normalised

I'm not, and here's my reasoning. Whether we mean to or not, the impression we put out there is one that influences others. Us humans are HIGHLY impacted by social norms, so when we see others being ON all-the-time, then, to be part of the group, we feel the nudge to do the same... and then that passes on, rippling out all the time.

Now, bear in mind that none of us live in a vacuum, and that tech is moving on at a wild rate, and we are creating an environment and a culture that is something the generations coming up behind us will 'catch' from us. If this makes you happy to contemplate, then carry on regardless, but if there are aspects to this current culture that feel unhealthy to you, then I invite you to get intentional about what you do and how you do it.

Is there room for silence in your online presence?

Is there an ebb and flow like we find in the nature world, or a machine-like constant presence?

Can anyone looking at your online presence see that there is a rhythm to it including times when you are quieter?

Especially if you are someone who advocates - like me- living and working in a way that is health-ful and sustainable, does your online output reflect this and model it for the people you are working with?

As a former queen of burnout, I completely get the craving to be omnipresent and to show how productive and on top of things you are, and I certainly am not saying we should never use schedulers. Nope, again, let's not get extreme or archaic here.

Intentionally rhythmic: Both online AND offline

The whole point of me writing this is to encourage those who are ready to listen to get intentional about what they're modelling by HOW they navigate the online space. If that's not you, no problem, but if it is, then, I invite you to dare to do what is life-giving for you, and for those who follow you, rather than merely feed the machine and perpetuate a culture that is driving so many to overwhelm and burnout.

We can do better, and each of us can be part of changing the culture for the better.