Dec 16, 2022
Media trauma. Sounds scary… but (our own) Bob Hutchins and Jenny Black’s new book, Our Digital Soul helps to, “guide you through the overwhelming maze of modern life to the life you really want, as it takes a hard look at the impacts of digital media and the trauma that results for all ages and every generation. Backed by research and experience, Black and Hutchins share their own personal journeys as well as those of their clients to explore a path where we can recover and thrive alongside our digital reality.” We dive deep on Bob’s new book, trauma bonds, technology, social media, small-t trauma, and more on this insightful episode.
What is media trauma? In order to understand what media trauma is, we first need to acknowledge that all technology is an extension of us. Because of this it impacts and changes who we are physiologically, psychologically, emotionally, and as a community. The magnitude of this impact is partially due to the imbalance of our brains and our technology. While our technology has continued to advance, our brains have stayed the same. This imbalance can lead to overwhelming amounts of small-t traumas. Small t-traumas are things such as a breakup, the death of a pet, losing a job, getting bullied, or being rejected by a friend group. These social small t-traumas happen even more online, that compound upon each other, causing media trauma. All trauma is created through trauma bonds and trauma bonds are defined as “emotional bonds with an individual that arise from a recurring cyclical pattern of abuse, perpetuated by intermittent reinforcement through rewards and punishment.” If we changed the word “individual” into “technology” would that statement not define our relationship with technology? In order to heal from media trauma, we must become aware of it, educate ourselves and others on the magnitude of media trauma, and begin to exercise self discipline. We will dive even further into Bob Hutchins and Jenny Black’s book, Our Digital Soul in the next episode; you definitely won’t want to miss it! We also highly encourage you to check out their book on Amazon or ourdigitalsoul.com and let us know your thoughts or questions in the comments below.
Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:
For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:
About The Guys:
Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob:
Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:
Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken:
[0:32] Bob opens this week’s episode with a chat about what the guys have been up to recently.
[5:47] Bob talks about his book that was just released, “Our digital soul: collective anxiety, media trauma and a path toward recovery”.
[8:47] Bob begins a discussion about technology and its impact on society and says that, “good marketing is Psychology and math.” “it's getting people to respond and engage and then measuring and scaling it”.
[16:06] Bob talks about the difference between video games and cell phone time/social media/work and how they impact your brain differently.
[17:16] Bob breaks down how all technology is simply an extension of us as humans.
“Every new technology is an extension of us. if you think of the wheel, it was an extension of our feet, right? We have to frame it that way, versus it's just a tool, and it's separate from me, no technology is ever separate from us…If it's an extension of us, then it fundamentally changes us. Physiologically, psychologically, and as communities… What is the computer and the cell phone an extension of? It's an extension of our brains. So what then is the internet? It's a further extension of our brains, and I would argue it's an extension of our nervous systems.”
[21:57] Brad adds that it can often be very easy to be overwhelmed with the high amounts of information with emotional ties that enter our brain every day.
[23:06] Bob talks about a quote from a biologist, EO Wilson, “the problem with humanity's we have Paleolithic brains, medieval institutions and godlike technology.”, adding that, “you can't plug a Paleolithic brain and expect it to keep up with godlike technology.”
[24:25] Brad asks Bob if he believes that AI will be able to regulate the amount of information and stimulation we receive to healthier levels.
[26:54] Bob defines media trauma, “small-t” traumas, and dives into some of the side effects (or “small-t’s”) of screen life. “We define media trauma as experiences through media, and personal devices that hinder or harm our capacity to be mentally whole.”
[32:22] Ken discusses how according to Dr. Andrew Huberman, “the frequency of dopamine hits that we get daily is the number one societal problem because because they're their weight, they're way more frequent than they ever have been in history.”
[34:29] Bob dives deep into an explanation of his and Jenny Black’s book, discussing how the internet compounds small-t traumas, three of the five symptoms that indicate that you have media trauma, and breaks down trauma bonds. “That's something called a trauma bond. Now I want to read the definition, and then I'm going to change one word. Trauma bonds are emotional bonds with an individual that arise from a recurring cyclical pattern of abuse, perpetuated by intermittent reinforcement through rewards and punishment. But let me change one word. Trauma bonds, or emotional bonds, with a device or a technology that arise from recurring cyclical patterns of abuse, perpetuated by inner intermittent reinforcement, through rewards and punishment.”
[42:58] Ken asks whether we as a society can exercise our discipline muscle now that we know the true impact of technology on our lives.
[44:36] Bob talks about the importance of self awareness, education, and collective intervention in order to, “retrofit this crazy godlike technology to our paleolithic brains.”
[48:03] Ken asks what the audience should take away from this, and why should they read this book?
[49:09] Bob says that, “mental health and wellness professionals. We want to get it in the hands of all of them. So hopefully it's accessible to everyone. But it is chock full of studies and data and information that could make an impact.”
[49:58] Bob says that you can buy Our Digital Soul on amazon.com or at ourdigitalsoul.com.
[50:29] Bob talks about some of the topics for the next episode. “What are some things that you can do to heal? What are you addicted to? One of the indicators is, what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you open your eyes in the morning you wake up?”