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Fungi, Social Media, & an Idea

By: Amanda Ekery

Over the past few months I’ve been really interested in fungi – how they decompose material, how they connect plants underground, and how their function can be translated to everyday practices.

“Biomimicry is the art and science of solving complex human problems by taking inspiration and lessons from nature” says Jay Harman. That’s an inspiring concept to me!

Mycelium is an interwoven mass of fungi that lives underneath the ground. It serves as a network to plants in the vicinity, connecting nutrients, transmitting messages, and helping everything survive. Art making, economy, and the ecosystems we live in are similar connections. Mycelium is an essential network to nature’s survival - mycelium supports, converts, carries, recycles, and heals life. That’s huge!

There are parallels between mycelium and our nervous system, how stars are placed, and the internet, specifically social media. On social media we act as fungi, creating a mycelium network connecting with others and sharing information. It’s not as essential, healing, supportive, or life giving as fungi mycelium, but I think in some ways it could be.

I also recently watched The Social Dilemma, and think that everyone should watch it, or at least be aware of how our online data is collected and used. I was freaked out about how we are fed information digitally, how mental health is affected by attention given on screen, and how social media can morph to create feelings of self-doubt, depression, validation, and self-isolation.

So why are we even on social media? To share our lives with friends, share our musical work, share things we find interesting. But what other positive, self-fulfilling, mycelial connecting ways can we use social media for?

How can we use biomimicry to repurpose our interactions online?

This idea is not new. I’ve loved seeing friends this year use social media to practice self-love, create polls/questionnaires to connect over childhood books, or even financially help each other by doing cost-free actions such as liking an artist page or subscribing to artists’ YouTube channels. I would love to hear about what has inspired you on social media, engaged you in a way that’s fun and caring, or what ideas you may have about your social footprint. I feel that when I post, it’s just to share, not to interact or engage but I would like to change that. What do you want to change?

Movies to watch:

The Social Dilemma – on Netflix

Book companion to The Magic Beneath Us:

More videos/sites:

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