We are two millennials who have had experience to know what it was like to live without technology and a screen constantly in our faces and now with it. Because of this, we have also been heavily influenced by social media and technology in general.
And it hasn’t always been in a positive way.
When first starting our business, we really had to consider the question, “what does mindful marketing mean to us?”
And at first, we thought, well of course, this means things like slowing down, being more present in life and business, unlearning the engrained practices of hustle culture that we were both so accustomed to, and taking into consideration various mindful practices, including meditation.
But more than that, it was the fact that we felt we had identified an issue in the industry that needed to be addressed.
Nowadays, everything moves so quickly and we’re always in a hurry. It’s as if we’re in autopilot, constantly moving from one thing to the next; whether that be from one social media platform to the other, trends on TikTok, fast fashion trends, or even just ordering food from Door Dash.
Things move so quickly.
Big Tech companies pick up on things like this and essentially add fuel to the fire through their algorithms. It’s no secret how these algorithms are designed (to keep us on and scrolling for longer periods of time), and therefore causing various negative outcomes and/or consequences. Read more here.
We obviously understand the importance of social media, especially for business and in terms of marketing. And so, being two millennial women who have also been heavily influenced by said algorithms, we felt it was important to address some of harmful consequences caused by unethical practices.
Therefore, it was extremely important for us to try and find ways in which we can slow down and be more intentional; yes, even on social media. To try and find ways to coexist with technology and social media without feeling like we have lost control or that the power is no longer in our hands (for example, getting lost in the mindless scroll).
Naturally, we started reading, researching, writing, creating, watching videos and documentaries, connecting with others, and so much more.
This did start to connect some dots for us but didn’t provide the insight to our initial concerns – there are some serious negative consequences given the way these algorithms are designed. Not to mention the fact that most of the power (that also has heavy influence on the economy, culture, and society in general) falls into too few hands (Big Tech) – and so, why is this not a more widespread issue?
Why aren’t more people asking questions? And why are the developers who design these algorithms okay with the fact that the algorithms in which they are responsible for creating are also the contributors to addictive behavioral patterns and/or habits?
This led to even more researching, writing, connecting with others – and ultimately led to reading several different books, including, ‘McMindfulness’ by Ronald E. Purser.
The author describes how modern-day mindfulness has essentially been stripped down from the ethical teachings that accompany it (originally derived from Buddhism) for the benefit of capitalism.
And through this, corporations have effectively been able to turn stress and overall, all our causes of suffering onto the individual, rather than questioning the systems that are in fact responsible for creating it.
Purser describes how mindfulness is used in corporate America to essentially “zombify” employees so that they don’t ask critical questions regarding whether what they’re doing is morally and/or ethically correct, they simply get the job done.
Employees are told in order to deal with stress - to focus, remain in the present moment or in the state of “being,” and to let “judgmental thoughts pass by.”
Purser quotes a senior manager at Google who puts it: “as an organizational WD-40, a necessary lubricant between driven, ambitious employees and Google’s demanding corporate culture – it makes no difference. Mindfulness works and is a good thing” (pg. 100).
He continues by explaining that while a “a truly revolutionary movement would seek to overturn this dysfunctional system,” today’s modern mindfulness “only serves to reinforce its destructive logic.” - Purser, pg. 8.
And that the mindfulness mental training programs provided by Google and other Big Tech companies are effective in ensuring that employees are mindful, “mentally fit,” and effective at coping with stress and working conditions, therefore, making “workers responsible for their responses to working conditions,” (pg. 137-138).
For more on this topic, view our TikTok here.
What this means for mindfulness in marketing:
When we first started our business – we weren’t exactly sure what the future had in store for us but one thing we knew for certain was that it was important for us to acknowledge unethical practices and to disseminate information to others.
As Purser states, “because liberation is a systemic process, it cannot rely on individual methods,” (pg. 261).
Social media, Big Tech, and algorithms are no different.
McMindfulness has given insight into some of our questions regarding the ethical practices that go into creating algorithms and Big Tech corporations in general. And even more specifically when we take into consideration how mindfulness has seemed to be somewhat of a trend in the last several years rather than a revolution; this author sums it up extremely well.
As for us, we will continue to learn, ask questions, think critically, hold safe spaces for real conversations, and most importantly, to do this collectively.
Or if you simply want to learn more about how to approach social media with more intention - schedule a Clarity Call with us today.
Chief Creative Officer