August 8, 2018
Two months ago, my roommate and I deleted all social media from our phones. We made a calendar and posted it on our fridge to hold ourselves accountable each day. Was it our first time doing this? No. And it wasn’t our last either.
This particular impulse was inspired by an Indiegogo campaign we discovered for a product called “The Light Phone 2.” This minimalist phone only has a few essential tools to help you become free of distraction. Alarm clock, directions, playlists, messaging. That’s it. No social media. No distraction. You might think buying a phone to stop using your phone is redundant, but millennials can’t get enough of it.
So why is the generation that birthed the selfie also the one that’s killing it?
Welcome to “cut out” culture.
Stemming from the general principals of minimalism, I like to think of “cut out” culture as less of a lifestyle and more as a coping mechanism for millennials in our hyper-connected world. Constantly being bombarded with information has forced our generation to develop a reflex of “cutting out” what we don’t need. We cut the cord on cable years ago. Soda, church, gluten, plastic straws — the numbers aren’t lying. We’re obsessed with cutting out.
According to Pew Research, this “cut out” culture is matched with an increase in self-care. In 2015, 94 percent of millennials reported making personal improvement commitments and would spend $300 a month on self-improvement. That’s twice as much as boomers. No wonder the self-care industry is thriving.
Even Apple has jumped on the trend by introducing Screen Time, a feature that tells you how much time your spending on your phone to help you make smarter decisions. When Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, admits that he uses his phone to0 much, we all have to start asking questions.
So how can advertisers get in front of these “cut out” consumers?
Maybe instead of contributing to the headache, we should be offering an aspirin.