Over the last few weeks I have been resurrecting some old reading habits. I am trying to spend more time reading long form articles and books and far less time in “conversational spaces” (insert social media site of choice here).
I don’t miss the conversation.
Although for years I’ve practiced, “Don’t read the comments, ever,” I still continued to actively engage on Twitter and recreated a Facebook account a couple of years ago. I slowly removed sites from my RSS reader that I found cropping up other places. My New Yorker subscription and The Economist subscriptions were cancelled. I left many articles unread in Instapaper. Short articles and comments that I could actively boost and engage with that led to sharing my own thoughts that were boosted and engaged with was addicting and felt like the better way to “keep up”.
Who needs to keep up?
There are a lot of things that led to my changing habits, but perhaps the most important factor was realizing that I could slow down. When my own life ramped up in activity and complexity, I could go days without checking “feeds”. I never missed a thing that mattered. “Keeping up” really meant collecting scraps of thoughts and sharing scraps of thoughts like staring down this small section of bark on this fascinating tree at the entrance to a forest.
Now that I have stepped back to take a broader view, I am much happier. It turns out that I can far more effectively limit what I read to things I am actually interested in when sources are controlled by me. Social media is really good at following individuals, but any one individuals overlap with my interests is always imperfect. When I follow someone for their mechanical keyboard glamor photography, I am also inundated with their views on immigration. As a result, spending time reading on the internet meant allowing the internet to dictate my mood. Now I can go to a set of feeds or a new source or website that only posts pictures of puppies when I am in the mood to look at puppies, and Trump can keep being a massive piece of shit somewhere else.
I am creating a filter bubble, not for confirmation bias but for sanity’s sake, not to silence view points but to ensure I spend time learning from what I read, considering my views and those of others, and enjoying my hobbies.
I would much rather read a long article in The Weekly Standard than the screed of some distant connection on Facebook. I would rather learn about current events from The Washington Post, read considered views in Slate or The Atlantic, or engage in magazine-style, long form journalism of all types than catch up on Twitter.
Social media crowded out quality media and I allowed it to because it kept my racing brain constantly fed and offered me some sense of validation and connectivity when I jumped into the fray.
I don’t want to jump into the fray as much anymore, I get almost no satisfaction from it. And I’m tired of eating cheap take out every night when I can afford a healthy, complete, and expertly prepared meal.
A few years ago I started to use Goodreads and take its annual reading challenge seriously so that I pushed myself to read fiction novels, which always brought me joy. We also cancelled cable, not to watch less television and movies but to watch less unintentional television and movies. The problem wasn’t how much we consumed but how much of it was there because it was meaningless, thoughtless, background noise. Both of these changes have been a part of my good mental health. I don’t know why it took me so long to apply the same thinking to the rest of my media habits.
I really dislike the redesign coming to Overcast. For the first time since it came out, I’m seriously considering a switch…
It’s amazing to me how often we come across business requirements that seem totally sensible and common, but find that there is little agreement or advice on implementation design patterns.
Feels like clear case against calling it “engineering”.
Is there any reason the 2020 Democratic Platform shouldn’t be 11 justices and DC & Puerto Rico statehood?
I am feeling uninspired using Omnigraffle lately. Does anyone has other good suggestions for something free or with a 30 day trial for wireframe? I’m looking for some context switching to get juices flowing. Flow charts, wireframes/mockups, and database diagrams are my main uses.
The thing I struggle with most is how little of my work I feel I get to share. I’m doing my best work, my life’s work I think, but it’s so much harder to expose and speak about candidly and publicly, compared to when I worked for government.
Here’s the cycle: underfund schools, claim administration is bloated, drive all possible dollars to classrooms, understaffed management struggle to keep up with bad bandaid patch solutions, now they’re irresponsible, underfund them more, these poor families just don’t care.
The more I think about it, the more I like the title “Record of a Spaceborn Few”.
I’m not sure any writer has just come onto the scene like Kool-Aid man blasting through a wall and knocked me over like Becky Chambers has. 📚
Just your regularly scheduled reminder that the second solo of Comfortably Numb is the greatest sound ever made by humans.
I think it’s a major cultural failing that we are so concerned with a few people “cheating” that we use outrageously expensive fare collection and enforcement mechanisms that make transit worse for everyone. We don’t need to live this way.
@danielpunkass a quick piece of feedback about the MarsEdit site. I’m surprised it doesn’t have a list of supported blogging engines. I’m a happy customer, thinking about dabbling with Ghost, and I was surprised there’s not a list on the site that says “compatible/use with”
The end of The Village Voice is yet another sign that we’re going through a rapid change that’s dismantling old institutions.
I hope we’re thoughtful about what new institutions develop in their place.
I hope Apple gets its shit together. https://sixcolors.com/link/2018/08/this-should-remind-you-of-windows-vista/
Was in a major funk of not getting shit done, so I cleared the calendar and I’ve been clearing the to do list and I feel like a million bucks.
Consultants– bad for the culture of consulting firms, bad for the culture of their clients, bad for the organizations that hire mostly former consultants on pattern matching.
Elsa and I have long discussed a road trip up to Montreal through New Hampshire and Vermont. Every year I look at the fall foliage predictions and think “Maybe this year we’ll go.”
Fascinating look at how our built environment impacts behavior. What if we had an “abandoned property” theory of crime instead of “broken windows”?
I’ve always been liberal. Two men I disagreed w/ but respected from GOP were John McCain & Colin Powell. They helped me understand it was possible to respect people who were wrong, which was hard when Peter King was my congressmen & Bush/Cheney were in the White House.
I have a confession. The other day I was about 45mins into an intense work meeting with a client when I looked down and noticed my Diet Coke had the name Jason. I played it so cool like nothing happened.
I felt very much like an adult.
I think a lot about how I’m falling short of the example set by those I admire.
I guess I should cut myself some slack. I admire them for a reason. We all need aspirational examples to follow.
Sometimes I imagine dedicating myself to being a skinny person and then I remember milkshakes exist.