Noisy Deadlines

socialmedia

I ask that because I noticed one day I was working extremely focused. The whole day. My working hours were highly productive. I was in a state of flow. It felt good. And that meant I didn't check social media. I checked my personal e-mail only 3 times the whole day. It was one of my most productive days in months!

And when I got home in the evening I sat down to read a book. And I just couldn't focus! I couldn't get past the first sentence. My mind was searching for something. CRAVING for something. And 15 minutes later of reading the same sentence over and over I realized I wanted to check news. Updates. New information!

It seemed like my brain needed stimulation before doing focussed work again. Does that mean I got addicted to the dopamine release related to the social media usage? I got my mobile phone and looked at the shiny screen... ...I opened Twitter, but there nothing much there anymore. ...2 minutes later I checked my 2 e-mails accounts. Nothing of importance. ...5 minutes later I checked Whatsapp and Telegram. Read all the messages. Nothing major to reply. ...10 minutes later I opened the Discord app. Read all the messages of the groups I currently participate on. Didn't need to reply anything. Done.

And then I was good to get back to my book.

There is one good thing happening here: none of the apps that I looked into had an endless timeline. Twitter could potentially have the never ending scrolling feed but I only follow 9 accounts there, so nothing much to see. And so I spent 17 minutes checking my “feeds”, which is not much considering that in the past I used to be sucked into the Facebook feed for hours.

I think I'm making progress...

But I still think my brain is not the same. Why did I had this urge to check any of those apps? I felt like a lab rat pulling the lever to get some food.

Weird... I wonder if I will ever get rid of this brain hack.

#socialmedia #addiction #attentionresistance #noisymusings

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Yesterday I deactivated my Facebook account. Yes, I didn't delete it yet, but I deleted my photo albums. I decided to be away from Twitter and Facebook this month inspired by Cal Newport's book Digital Minimalism.

The thing is: there is so much information available on the internet and I don't want to let an algorithm show me what to see. That's why I always love [moderated] discussion forums. It's theme focused and generally people there are looking for information and trying to help each other. Social media has some of it too, but 99% of it is just showing off.

I remember it was not used to be that way. It really was a more personal approach where we could connect and share ideas with close friends. Now it's an ad driven world where quantity matters more than quality. I used to love social media. I joined the first “connect to friends” websites back when “social media” was not even a noun. I used to have an account at SixDegrees.com. It was launched 22 years ago. It was shut down in 2001. Then I used MySpace (not my favorite), Orkut (2007, I remember there were hundreds of useless groups and hate speech started to build there) and then, Facebook (2009).

At the beginning I used Facebook to connect to a group of international colleagues from a course I've taken abroad. Facebook was not about news or companies profiles. There were only people. There were ads, yes, but they were less obnoxious. At some point all these companies started to show up on Facebook and ads started to overflow our timelines. And then viral videos. And then the non-chronological timeline. That annoyed me a lot. A timeline where you had no control of. Then I started to realize something was wrong with Facebook and with what my contacts were publishing there. It was all fake. It was all just for show. And I include myself in this madness. It's time to stop the madness.

I've long deleted my timeline on Facebook, meaning: I don't see anything on my timeline. I was occasionally logging to Facebook to check out some groups. And that's all I did there. I deleted my photo albums. And I'm still trying to delete my comments and likes but there's no way to automate that. I have to go to every single post and delete it manually. I'm still searching for a better solution.

I wonder if I delete my account, all my data will be deleted or Facebook will still have that data in their servers. I wanted to do a full delete from their servers. I don't know if that's possible yet.

For now, I deactivated my account. I'll be away from Facebook for 30 days.

#socialmedia #facebook #digitalminimalism #attentionresistance #noisymusings

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Erasing facebook

I've been thinking a lot about social media lately.

Actually, I've been thinking about it for a long time. And I've taken action to minimize my exposure: I deleted my Instagram and Pinterest account, I used extensions to eliminate Facebook's annoying timeline, I unfollowed hundreds of profiles on Twitter. But I still use social media a little.

I still check Twitter for local weather and traffic news or alerts. And I like to check the latest tweets from some cool authors I follow. I connect with people using the Facebook Groups platform. I have a LinkedIn account. I occasionally go check Reddit.

And after all this time reflecting, tweaking and observing my behavior I still think that the minimum amount of social media usage is not that beneficial. Maybe the benefits do not completely outweighs the downsides.

I can list at least 5 books I've read in the past that made me rethink the way I engage with social media and with the Internet in general:

And now I'm reading Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. And just like Tristan Harris saying that social media apps today are like slot machines, Cal Newport says they are the “new smoking”:

“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.” ― Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Which, in the end, is saying that they are extremely addictive, no doubt.

And I worry about it. Have I become addicted without even knowing? How did those websites and apps changed my behavior? Is my mind being hijacked? Am I aware?

I don't have answers right now but I am feeling that after reading Cal Newport's new book I'm gonna have a radical change on how I use social media and the Internet.

#socialmedia #digitalminimalism #noisymusings #attentionresistance

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Attention Wars

Who owns our attention? Are you paying attention?

This Braincraft series is a nice discussion about the #attentionwars.

There are 6 episodes discussing persuasive design, the psychology of attention and how to use technology more intentionally.

I love that in the end of each episode Vanessa Hill (the presenter) tells us to watch the series at our own pace and at our time 😊.

Recommended!

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #braincraft

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

The Hyperlink versus the Stream: a nice quick discussion point on what is going on, from Cal Newport : From the Hyperlink to the Stream: Hossein Derakshan’s Critique of the Internet in the Age of Social Media

Note: the article from Hossein Derakshan can be found here. Worth a read or re-read!

#socialmedia #digitalminimalism #attentionresistance #noisymusings

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Yes, I did it!

I was by no means an Instagram heavy user but I became more and more annoyed with the amount of ads appearing on my feed. And since Instagram is focused on the mobile interface, I couldn't find any workaround to remedy this annoyance. I've managed to tweak my Facebook so that it became less overwhelming to me but I couldn't find any workarounds for Instagram.

And you know what? I don't miss it. AT ALL!

Sure, it was a kind of an outlet for me to explore my amateur photographer side but the model of “likes” and “follows” and ads really irked me. Even if I was not following anybody the ads were there draining my attention. I've been using social media less and less. I still have a Twitter account that I use to check the weather and traffic conditions occasionally. My Facebook is heavily tweaked so that the only reason I go there is to participate in some Groups I find value in. And that's it. No feeds. No ads. Nothing popping up and demanding my attention.

I love this interesting article distinguishing between “social internet” and “social media” by Cal Newport: On Social Media and Its Discontents.

So, almost 4 months without Instagram and life is beautiful!

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #noisymusings

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I have been decluttering my life for some years now. In terms of material possessions I have reached a point where I consider I have enough. I have the essential now. I have a capsule wardrobe that works for me. I don't own physical books or CD's anymore. I prefer not having decorations on the walls of my home.

Right now I am focusing on the less corporeal items of my life. I've been critically evaluating my online activity for quite a while now.

After I read the book Deep Work by Cal Newport  in 2016,  a light bulb turned on inside my head that made me think: Am I too distracted? Are we too distracted?

And the answer is “Yes, we are distracted!”. The combination of cellphones and social media has dramatically changed my behavior towards technology and that is scary! I love technology, don't get me wrong. I grew up in the non-digital world and I remember when I connected to the Internet for the first time. The Internet was a marvelous unexplored space with enormous possibilities. It meant freedom! Democratic access to information! Connection!

And now I feel entrapped when I am online. I feel like I don't have control. I feel like I am inside a weird experiment where my choices are not my own. I feel like a victim. So I decided to take some action!

The Process


My decluttering process was like this:

  1. Make a list of all the social media account that I have.
  2. Log into the accounts and check the status: Have I been using it? Do I like it? What do I use it for?
  3. Make a plan for each one of them, listing their purpose and what I want to do with them.
  4. Delete the accounts I no longer use or update.
  5. Reevaluate the accounts that I still use: can I unfollow/unfriend people/profiles? Delete/minimize the amount of information feeding my timeline.
  6. Repeat step 5 regularly (I did every 2 months from 2016 to 2018).
Read more...

Hello!! It was a little quiet around here and I'll explain why.

Around 6 months me and my husband left our home country to start a new life in Canada (the picture is a hint of exactly Where in Canada). And I can tell you that these first 6 months were intense!

Moving to a foreign country is a marvelous experience. During the first months I felt like I was reborn because I was learning new things 24 hours a day. In a sense I felt like a child again!

Everything was new:

  • looking for a place to live;
  • understanding how rental contracts work;
  • buying furniture, learning to use the public transit;
  • looking for a job;
  • figuring out groceries and everyday products;
  • getting a driver's license;
  • filing tax returns;
  • getting used to the local slang;
  • experiencing the Canadian winter for the first time;
  • finding out which type of winter boots are right for you;
  • learning how to skate....

......and many, many more things. It has been quite a ride!

So now that the most urgent life essentials are dealt with, I got a job and my routine is running smoothly, I will get back to writing here.

I survived winter (and loved it!), I saw the Tulips Festival I don't own a TV for the first time in my life and I feel rejuvenated.

I continued to read a lot during these months and I've been rethinking my social media usage.

Social Internet

So, I want to recommend 2 articles by Cal Newport:

They really got me thinking about my relationship with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What is connection? Is having followers a useful type of connection? Why we feel the need to post photos of our food to strangers? What is happening? Who owns my data after it is published? Aren't we just being used?

Cal Newport makes a distinction between “social internet” and “social media”. The first is about meaningful connections and learning, the second is about companies monetizing these interactions. And Newport gives some ideas on how to embrace the social internet. He is in advocate of everybody having their own website:

“In other words, acquire your own damn digital land on which you can do whatever you want without anyone else trying to exploit you or influence your behavior.” — by Cal Newport

That is an interesting approach because social media is now a huge business in which our attention is being used for monetization. That is scary! And how come clicking a “like” button or blindly sharing headlines have become a social expression?

Anyway, these were all reflections I had during these months amidst living new experiences and having the best time of my life doing so. I will write more about these topics.

Spring is here (if you are in the northern hemisphere) so let's be mindful of our time and escape from being negatively influenced by social media.

Note: Cal Newport is writing a book on “digital minimalism” and I am really looking forward to it!

#socialmedia #attentionresistance

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.