The digital costs of leisure

How do you spend your leisure?

Leisure is scarce. It’s meant to give us a break from work and to refresh us. How does leisure look in the digital era? Especially leisure that is spent on digital media?

For one, it feels good in the moment. If not for those hits of dopamine we receive with every notification or with every like, the internet would not have created some of the world’s most valuable companies.

Secondly, social media is depleting in the long run. After spending a couple of hours on these websites, we do not feel refreshed.

Thirdly, despite social media being free, internet companies benefit from every action we perform on their platforms. Old school products like a Toyota Corolla or even Microsoft Windows have intrinsic value in the absence of any users cranking their engines. But products like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram would be worthless but for their teeming masses of users. Internet giants are successful because of their engineers, designers, product managers and the labour of every user on their platform.

If leisure depletes you in the long term and generates income for somebody else, is it truly “free”?  Every minute of leisure is an expenditure. More so, if it is spent in digital worlds.

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