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Category: Internet

Too Many Choices Stops the Choosing, or, How We End Up Doing Nothing Because We Can Do Everything

Too Many Choices Stops the Choosing, or, How We End Up Doing Nothing Because We Can Do Everything

The internet is the ultimate in potential for choice paralysis. Endless reading, gaming, shopping, viewing. It’s amazing and wonderful to have such bounty available. But it’s in our limitations that we find not only creative ways to solve our problems, but also a certain comfort.

When we have too many options, we spend time deciding among them. It’s time that could have been spent working on your thing, or enjoying some other art. Sometimes, the overwhelming nature of possible things to do makes us shut down and just spend our time with the familiar. Films we’ve seen a dozen times, music we could sing along to in our sleep. That’s fine. But when we say we want to try new things, it helps to have fewer options.

I don’t, unfortunately, have a consistent methodology for narrowing internet choices, but I think it’s probably worth working on, if even in a deliberate, manual, conscious way.

Not Yet With the Best Ofs, there’s Still Year Left.

Not Yet With the Best Ofs, there’s Still Year Left.

Every year in December—or earlier!—there’s a mad scramble for people to craft and publish their top 10/20/100 best Somethings.

There’s a lesson in patience to be snagged. We should have patches like the Boy Scouts for artists’ achievements. Pushing away the instant gratification monster/monkey/monkey-monster.

Always discipline is applicable, and your work is better for it. Keep your best-ofs till after New Year’s. Sometimes the last minute gift is the best.

Desocial-Mediafying Is One Way to Get Further Into Your Creative Habit

Desocial-Mediafying Is One Way to Get Further Into Your Creative Habit

There are a number of people I know of—and friends I know—who are either decoupling from the endless social media feeds completely, experimenting with vacations away from them, or moderating down their use and intake of the same. It’s probably healthy to do one of those things if you find you’re not doing the things you think you want to, or feeling gross after scrolling feeds. John Green, no less, is taking a year off social media completely:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zlYoOmoH5U

He takes time to point out the good things about social media, too, but overall, wants to spend some time being better at the things he wants and needs to do.

Similarly, Wheezy Waiter (Craig Benzine) and his wife, Chyna Pate, quit the internet entirely for a month and vlogged the results:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve37Bg4-hPc

I think even if we don’t go the radical route, there’s a lot of food for thought in these vids, and tangible utility in understanding the brain hacks of social media and how we might benefit from circumventing them.

You Know That Blank Feeling You Get Just After You’ve Finished a Particularly Brutal Shift at Work and You Can’t Even Think?

You Know That Blank Feeling You Get Just After You’ve Finished a Particularly Brutal Shift at Work and You Can’t Even Think?

I can’t add much to this title, except that I was thinking about all the mess of social media most of us wade through from time-to-time—or even most of the day, for some—and how to deal with it as it washes over us. Dan Hon laid out some decent philosophical razors in this Medium piece. I like him.

Some Voices Are a Comfort, and You Should Indulge Them in These Times of Anxious Uncertainty

Some Voices Are a Comfort, and You Should Indulge Them in These Times of Anxious Uncertainty

I have quite a number of creators who I simply enjoy hearing. Their tone, cadence, demeanor, sincerity, all of that I find both comforting and compelling.

These are anxious times, for many of us around the world. Things seem to be moving fast, and like a tornado or hurricane, it feels out of our control.

It is, of course. But voices of assurance and comfort, especially when they aren’t even talking about the thing I’m worrying over, can give me the encouragement to keep working and searching.

Paul Sykes, better known by his internet name, Sjin, is one of those for me. Brb, going to play a few vids while I pack boxes for Portland.

Five for Frid-ing

Five for Frid-ing

I was always a fan of the Friday 5 meme, so here’s a past-blast redux, why not.

1) Austin Kleon gave a wonderful talk at the Bond conference last week, on maintaining your creative momentum and such.

2) Since the beginning of hockey season, I’ve been trying to be less a fan of any particular team and enjoy the game and the players I admire more. Still, there’s beauty in the way fandom wears its collective heart on its sleeve, and if you’re outside it you don’t feel the same impact. And since my former fanning was done in support of the Vancouver Canucks, I couldn’t help but be caught up in the last home game the fabled Sedin twins will ever play. Not only was it touching to see such affection pouring from the fans and other players (on both teams), it was also a thrilling nail-biter of a finish in overtime. It embodied the best of what pro sports can offer.

3) The complete visual timeline of the Paramount Pictures logo

4) This hilarious flaming hot take about how bands should keep their sets to 20 minutes long. It’s as amusing for its no-fucks-given style as for the outraged comments taking it very seriously.

5) The always charming Crimes Against Hugh’s Manatees comic strip

Future Friday lists will probably occur, this was fun.

What’s Important

What’s Important

Really, it’s “what’s important?”

The question is yours to answer, we’ll all have a different list, sometimes several things, sometimes one.

But as social feeds get better at gaming your very human instincts and desires, it’s ever more incumbent to decide how much time is too much to spend with them. To that end, writing down the one or three things you view as “important” could be a useful reminder to spend most of your free time on them, and not digital minutiae.

Title: “What’s Important?”

And then use that to focus your attention and daily habit.

Value Added

Value Added

Along the digital hygiene self-examination track I’ve roared into headlong, I made my way slowly through Dan Hon’s newsletter (worth subscribing to, if you’re interested in informed ruminations on tech and its intersection with human life) wherein he talks about the difficulty in discerning whether social media corps. are engineering quirks of our brain reward system to get us addicted to the feeds they dangle, or if it’s just a coincidence of their format.

Basically, I wondered, is it just easier to make a decision about what we value? Do we value our time to make things and—even the precious moments we rarely find to just sit and do nothing—more than the endless stream of discrete information that’s overloading us?

Sorry, leading question your honor, withdrawn.

As creators, makers, we probably want our work to be valued. But if we don’t carve out time for it—probably more than we think we need—it doesn’t receive the raw input that imbues much of that potential value. In my opinion.

The Feed takes value from us. It takes it in the form of our time, our focus, and our personal data. We’re attempting to put value back into the world. Perhaps we should consider if we need a lot more of our own raw value to be able to do that.

Discovery and Inspiration

Discovery and Inspiration

Today was one of amazing things discovered and more work than I’d planned on coding lessons. Here are some things I was amazed by:

Marcus Aurelius’s classic Meditations. I’ve read bits of it, always surprised by its continued relevancy, but here’s an e-version.

Oprah Winfrey’s impassioned Golden Globes acceptance speech about womens’ empowerment and change.

If Smashing Pumpkins were Silversun Pickups, they’d be Big Jesus.

Images constructed to refocus machine-learned AI attention away from the thing they’re trying to recognize (a bit obscure phrase, I know, but the story explains).

Art comes from the stuff we take in: all nature, human interaction, and the creations of others.

Some of the Links I Checked Out in the Week of Mar. 26

Some of the Links I Checked Out in the Week of Mar. 26

In chronological order. I was going to sort them by type or category, but this is kind of interesting, and waaay easier. It’s also probably too long, though it’s a fraction of my history. If I do this again, more brutal editing might be a thing. If you want some kind of insight into my outrageously scattered searching, it might be here. But who knows?

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 Saturday