This is incredibly fundamental to what we should all be doing here. I'm going to take some time to reflect on all this over the upcoming holidays.
Thanks Ben, I'm glad it hits home. I'd love to hear your follow up thoughts after the holidays!
Thank you for your article, Vicky! Great read.
You wrote What is the return value of opening up the Twitter app? ... The concrete answer is that there isn't one. I disagee with that last statement. If you solely talk about the information that you are getting out of browsing, then sure, the information you get is most of the time next to worthless. You don't live your live differently if you see that some celebrity got a baby or some politician made an outrighteous claim or that a new investigation found that there has been a data breach at company X.
What is the return value of opening up the Twitter app?
... The concrete answer is that there isn't one.
I think there is a return value: Entertainment. You (and with you, of course, I mean everbody) just want to be entertained. Entertained with funny memes, high speed cooking videos and videos of cats falling down the stairs. And entertained with new things: New stories about the world, new studies that came out, new products that will be launched, new events that are happening soon.
Thanks Florian! I'm glad you brought that up and gave me the opportunity to expand on that point.
It's certain that you're entertained by endlessly scrolling through Twitter - the point I mean to make is that it's endless. Entertainment doesn't stop at a singular value in the same way getting a coffee does, but consumes time open-ended. There's no incentive to say "Okay, I've had enough entertainment now," and stop - outside of interruption from external factors, or by the force of that same willpower that these apps are designed to undermine.
Great article, Vicky. Made me think :)
I made a nice little Bookmarklet recently to calculate reading duration of an article to determine if it's worth my time. It works on most websites:
Feedback appreciated :)
I feel that I am part of the last generation of kids that grew up without a smartphone and feel rather grateful that I got to experience all those car rides just talking or listening to the radio without half the car wandering out of focus.
The internet is still in relative infancy to society and what happened is probably a completely natural response. I also optimistically believe that new generations will balance themselves out and become more cognizant and mindful of their technology use.
And yes, devs can help lead the way
Personally today I manage my social networks better. I came across a Garry Turk: shutdown video a few years ago and it changed me. And then when you're not known it helps too.
Sure if you get up and it's pc, Twitter you won't really be able to start your day very late with the risk of being pumped to the point of not even knowing what to do.
To remedy the problem, today I check social networks in the evening because I'm usually exhausted and I forbade myself to work at those hours so I can easily watch this cute chat on YouTube or stroll on Twitter.
There is a podcast of Autodisciple(a French youtubeur) who helped me in this sense too. Every night before going to bed I write on a post-it what needs to be done before going on the PC(outside the pc) or what needs to be done when I open the PC(inside the PC).
Here are some tricks I use.
At the same time I have this productivity app that I want to set up, to help people when they set themselves a goal so that they can hold on to the end by trying to motivate them when they stand still. Nothing's coded yet. Everything's still on paper. For those interested you can DM me
Vicky, you are absolutely right.
Since blocking my smartphone, facebook, news etc.
I am really productive and happy.
Thanks for sharing this great readVicky! I've been giving the same things a lot of thought lately. I recently wrote a few articles on this subject right here on dev.to, and I've seen more developers questioning their motives lately. It might be the zeitgeist.
Now to be fair, these articles have more questions and critiquing than solutions but they might be an interesting read.
I've been trying to write a reply to your article, as it deserves a proper answer, but I'm afraid I'm only going in circles. I'm going to give this some more thought and hope to get back to you.
In any case I'd recommend these articles on the Guardian:
An amazing article that really has me thinking about my upcoming projects. Thank you.
Glad to make you think!
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