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Rethinking Time Spent Online

You might have heard someone recommend Trick Mirror this year. I finished the first two chapters last night.

The first chapter/essay (The I in Internet) is essential reading.

I’ve been thinking about five intersecting problems. First, how the Internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale. - Jia Tolentino

This chapter, along with several other books I’ve read over the past few years (Deep Work, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Amusing Ourselves to Death), have done serious damage to my long-held belief that time spent online on social media is a good investment of time and energy.

Questions on my mind:

  • Is the time and effort I’m putting into social media worth it?
  • How much does the performance and time required for maintaining an online presence actually benefit me?
  • Should I even be trying to grow an audience”, as they say?
  • Wouldn’t focusing on producing great/important work and developing my skills be a better investment of time?

I suspect that I will be much happier and more successful if I spend less or no time on social media platforms, and instead direct that time and effort towards:

  1. Real life goals
  2. Real life relationships
  3. Products like books, ebooks, online courses
  4. Rare and valuable skills

It’s hard to walk away from social media platforms and the promise of audience and interaction that they offer, but I think I now understand the reasons to.

Of course, I’ve had similar thoughts before, and have continued to return to the platforms. I guess they call it an addiction for a reason.

Addiction: dependency, dependence, craving, habit, weakness, compulsion, fixation, enslavement

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