Friday, March 26, 2021

Great Use of Screen Time: Study With Merve

See Merve's entire channel here.
If you're reading this via email, please click here to see the accompanying video.
by Laurie Allee


Let's say you're at a film pitch meeting and you're trying to convince producers that you've got a workable idea:

"There's this Scottish student, okay?  And they have this YouTube Channel where all they do is point an HD camera at a desk and out of the window where they, like, study alone for up to 7 hours.  You never see anything except their hands as they write in notebooks and check a laptop. They've got over 201,000 subscribers and people join the live streams from all over the world to study with the videos and everyone has developed a camaraderie in the comment section..." 

Yeah, I don't think you're getting that movie funded.

But here's where truth really is stranger than fiction...

Identified simply as Merve,  "a student in amazing Scotland," this extremely organized International Relations MRes student from University of Glasgow has offered COVID-19 shut-ins, distance learners and those suffering from social media overload a calm place to study, read, write or just peacefully unwind without distraction.  You know all those apps promising a surefire system to destress, or meditate, or organize work or practice mindfulness? Delete them all and tune in to Merve.    

Merve's goal is simple:  "I hope this study video helps you avoid using social media while you study.  You will find a quiet and cosy study room ambience in this video when studying at your home.  Hopefully, this would get you motivated for more than studying.  You might hear the rain, birds, typing sounds and the flipping of pages (and cars too, unfortunately) from time to time, and I hope that helps you to know that I'm there studying with you!"

If you read the comments sections of Merve's videos you'll find scrolls of inspiring testimony.  People from all over the world are studying a wide variety of subjects.  They post what they are working on in the comments.  There are PhD dissertations being written, theoretical physics exams being prepared for.  There are authors writing novels and teachers preparing lessons.  There are formally enrolled students and autodidacts dedicating time to learning languages or reading the classics. There are law students and medical students and a huge amount of distance learning kids who have finally found a way to escape Instagram and focus on homework.  (My favorite comment, after a list of college-level learners had declared their fairly complex study subjects for the day, was simply "I'm 10 and today I'm studying math.")

I like to put Merve on a screen in the background while I write or edit.  The system of working for 50 minutes and breaking for 10 has dramatically improved my creative output.  It's amazing how much you can get done with these blocks of dedicated time.  Knowing that I'm connected to a worldwide group of others makes it feel like I'm in the coolest study hall ever ... one with Scottish songbirds, an occasional rain shower, the gentle scratch of Merve's pen on the paper and the clickety-click of the laptop keyboard. (Heads up ASMR devotees!) As a bonus, no matter when you look up at the screen you'll see something calm and beautiful: a perfect coffee mug, an enviably organized desk, a gorgeous view out of Merve's window.  Seriously, Merve lives in a ridiculously beautiful place, and is not only an extremely organized student, but a fantastic videographer with a superb eye for composition.   

For more wonderful ambient background videos to enhance analog living, check out this post.

Stay tuned for more ways to use technology to enhance offline time.

For my guide to social media alternatives, click here

For great books to conquer digital addiction, click here

Leave me a message here.    

Log off. Tune in. Opt out.