Noisy Deadlines

internet

The Internet is awesome because it connects computers, which can then connect people. This allows people to share information and work and have fun together. In the past, there were different ways that this connection happened, such as bulletin board systems (BBS's), Usenet networks, forums, message boards, and IRC. Some of these systems are still around today, but they are not as popular as they used to be.

We all know blogs have been around for a while, starting as online journals in 1994. They evolved over time, becoming more social with features like comments and likes. Webrings were also used to find personal blogs, and people would share other blogs on their own through Blogrolls. The experience of finding cool blogs was decentralized and based on serendipity.

When I think of the early internet, I remember forums, IRC chats, and personal blogs. These were the “social networks” of that time. They were all about connecting with people, sharing passions and opinions, having conversations, and learning from each other. Forums were especially useful for finding expert advice and detailed guides on many topics.

Blogs became more popular in the 2000s and reached more people. However, this also meant that they became part of the internet advertising economy, cluttered with ads, pop-ups, and annoying banners. Around the same time we saw the emergence (and eventual decline) of some networking platforms such as Six Degrees, Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, Orkut, and Facebook. These services began as a means of connecting with groups of people who shared common interests, or were friends or relatives.

But something happened around 2009-2010 that turned “Social Networking” into “Social Media.” The advertising economy had taken hold. Ads were everywhere online. With the rise of smartphones and social media apps, billions of people began to view themselves as potential celebrities. Comments and likes created a social-validation feedback loop. This led to the influencer economy, where users got paid by companies to promote products.

Surveillance capitalism worsened the situation by harvesting user data for ads. Social media lured users with money for “content” but also hooked them with addictive features like endless feeds, “like” buttons, and clickbait algorithms. We all know the negative effects these apps have on users’ well-being. Mainstream social media platforms are now in a bad shape, and I believe people are aware of the problems and want change.

It appears that people have become accustomed to being in one crowded place all the time on the web, but this is not an ideal way to socialize. We can bring back some of the old Internet vibe by creating smaller, more manageable groups. The first step is to establish our own spaces on the web, which are separate from the large, walled social media gardens.

After using mainstream social media platforms for years, I realized that everything I wrote on these platforms didn’t really belong to me. My content and identity were owned by mega-corporations. Bothered by this, I read books by Jaron Lanier, Shoshana Zuboff and James Williams. To my relief, I discovered that there were alternatives to the “corporate-owned” Internet, including initiatives like the Indie Web, the smol web, the federated ActivityPub protocol and so many others.

I deleted my social media accounts. I got a domain and created my blog on Write.as, a privacy-focused blogging platform that is a delight to use. I am not pressured to write to keep up with the trending topics, or to grow my audience. It's my little corner of the internet, it's clean, and quiet. It's a safe space for me to express myself and connect with others on my own terms.

There are various ways to connect with people online, such as microblogging, chatting on IRC or joining the small web / IndieWeb movements. It's important to remember that the internet is a tool, and we have the power to shape the way we use it. By taking control of our own data and creating our own spaces online, we can recreate the sense of community and personalization that defined the early internet.

I think we all deserve to have choices that suit our technical skills and tastes. The decentralized web offers choices for everyone. You can pick and choose the platforms and protocols that work for you and your goals. And I hope that as more people discover the ad-free and decentralized web, they will find more options that are rewarding and fun to use.

This text was originally published on Ctrl-ZINE (^Z) Vol. 1 – Issue 3.

Post 28/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge! #100DaysToOffload #100Days #noisymusings #internet

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

Blogrolls have been around since the early 2000's, and they used to be a great way to discover other blogs. Since the current landscape of social media has not had a positive effect on me lately, I've decided to curate a list of links to other blogs that I find interesting and worth sharing.

I believe blogs have a lot more to offer compared to quick and short social media updates. I enjoy reading thoughtful, long-form posts from people that I have chosen to read, in contrast to the truncated brain candy that seems to dominate the internet these days.

My list contains mostly personal and independent blogs that I've often stumbled upon through other people's blogrolls. You can check my blogroll here.

Also, checkout the amazing Ye Olde Blogroll: it's a curated list of fine personal & independent blogs that are updated regularly, indexed by theme.

If you have a personal blog and want a reader, please email me!

I'd be glad to add it to my blogroll.

Inspired by Vova’s blog “I’ll Read It” post.

Thanks! 🤗

Post 22/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #blogroll #internet

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

In August 2018 I deleted my Instagram account! It’s been 5 years!

But the first photo sharing social network I ever used was MOLOME. It was around 2007-2008, if I'm not mistaken. => Edit: It was around 2011, most probably. I would upload photos from my digital camera, a Fujifilm FinePix S5000, and apply the filters to publish my photos. It was like Instagram, before Instagram. There were no ads, only likes, comments section and stickers. I remember I had a Nokia N8 phone running Symbian for a while then I upgraded to a Nokia Lumia 820.

I don't think MOLOME is still around but I have a backup of the photos I published there, a total of 103 photos. Some photos from that time:

I think I joined Instagram in 2012 or 2013. It was okay at the beginning. Then advertisements started to get more and more ubiquitous. Then a more powerful algorithm was introduced and made horrible decisions of what to show me on my timeline. And they introduced Instagram stories. It quickly became very annoying to use the platform and I was getting stressed out by it. As part of my bigger social media declutter project, I deleted my account in 2018.

I don't miss it at all. It was the first big social media service I got rid of. I knew I was addicted to it and that it was negatively affecting my mood. Life went on, I felt less distracted and I was spending less time on my phone. I stopped seeking artificial digital approval from others online. It started my process of slowly distancing myself from all the attention economy based social media.

Post 03/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #noisymusings #socialmedia #internet #attentionresistance

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

I’m reading the book “Homo distractus: Fight for your choices and identity in the digital age” by Anastasia Dedyukhina, and I enjoyed the section that discussed our society’s increasing sense of lack of time.

The perception that there’s not enough time to do things comes from the increasing amount of information we have to deal with today. Emails, text messages, news updates, endless social media feeds…etc.

And the apps designed to distribute all this “content” make us believe that it’s important to “share” all this information, as fast as possible, even without truly understanding the message. The author explains:

“Sharing information, encouraged by social media, is another example of how tech design creates the sense of urgency and the lack of time in our minds. The faster we share, the more rewarded we are by getting our likes or shares.” — Homo Distractus, Chapter 4: The Time Crisis

So, it seems social media spaces are now this crazy noisy place, where everybody is shouting something, trying to get attention (rewards), without even knowing what they are shouting about:

“By sharing whatever captures our attention, and not what we know is credible, we just contribute to the overall noise making ourselves and others even more overwhelmed.” — Homo Distractus, Chapter 4: The Time Crisis

And that just creates more noise… it’s overwhelming. It's too scattered, it's too noisy, too random. This “Always Keep Up” method of being online is draining (thanks ~loghead for the term) and I can’t stand it anymore (I’m looking at you, Mastodon!).

#noisymusings #socialmedia #internet #attentionresistance

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

About a year ago I deleted my social media accounts. I thought I had done it long ago. But, no, it’s been a year!

So, what have I learned?

  • The only thing that worked for me to stay away from social media was: total disconnection. Delete them. For real. After I deleted my accounts I thought many times about re-creating them but I also remembered how annoying it was. And how distracted I used to get. So, it was important in the first week to remember WHY I deleted them in the first place.
  • I didn’t need to do this all by myself, relying on my willpower alone (I tried, never worked). I used technology to fight technology. For the first few months, I used the app Freedom on all my devices to create a barrier. And it worked. The secret for me was being able to stay away from social media long enough to get my brain back to a “baseline” with no constant dopamine-induced activities. I started to feel my brain working differently 1-2 months in.
  • I started going out for long walks. Looking back now, it was not an easy time: the COVID-19 pandemic, dead of winter in my region, short days, and freezing temperatures. But it was the only thing I could do to fill in the void. I had to be outside. I learned that snow pants are awesome and that it’s okay to walk around with a headlamp (there are no lights on the pathway by the river, where I used to walk).
  • After deleting social media I still had the urge to scroll something. Anything. I would scroll through my email inbox. But it was finite so sometimes I would open a news portal and just scroll. I was not interested in anything that was there, but I needed to SCROLL. This behavior lasted for some weeks. Then I realized how pointless it was.
  • Sometimes I feel like I want to scroll something, even today. I still use RSS feeds so that became my “scrolling” thing. I paired down my feeds with only a small number of blogs I regularly read. So it’s a manageable list now, I scroll but it’s not an endless pit of junk anymore
  • I now feel repulsed by any website that is too “social-media-like”. Or that has too many ads. I avoid them all.
  • If I have a question about something I’ll go to Wikipedia first to find the answer. I feel like I’m 13 years old again going to the library and opening up an Encyclopedia to search for an answer.
  • I read better. I can read a book non-stop for an hour now. But that happened only recently. It took me months to be able to just sit down and read for more than half an hour without fidgeting or grabbing my phone.
  • I learned that it is important to embrace boredom. The best way to train it for me is to go out for walks, with nothing in my ears. No music. No podcasts. Just my breathing and surrounding sounds.
  • I decreased my podcast consumption. A lot!
  • I learned that I don’t enjoy audiobooks that much. I hear that one of the advantages of audiobooks is that you can read while doing something else. I tend to prefer to do one thing at a time. I can occasionally listen to podcasts while doing the dishes or cleaning the house, for example, but not books, especially if I’m enjoying it. When I’m reading something I need to pay attention and focus and reflect. Audiobooks don’t go at my mind’s speed, I guess.

Some people do a regular “digital detox” for a short or long period of time and then get back to whatever they were avoiding without letting it turn into a compulsive behavior again. Trying to use social media in moderation never worked for me. This technology evolves every day with new ways to hook us up and maybe I don’t have the energy to fight it all the time.

I’m happier now 😎. I love the Internet, but only some (quieter) corners of it.

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #internet #noisymusings

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

It's been a little over a month since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts. At the beginning I went through some weird cravings to check something, anything and: scroll, scroll, scroll! That probably lasted a couple of weeks. I was constantly getting into news websites, checking the weather forecast, checking e-mail... in a rate that was abnormal. Even sites with any addictive features like Read.Write.as became an obsession. I realized I was just duplicating a learned behaviour after using the internet for years: scrolling endlessly. If one source was done, I jumped to another, to keep on scrolling. Weird. I think it was a withdrawal reaction. And for the first time I was aware that this scrolling addiction was imprinted in me at a subconscious level.

After the realization something clicked in my head: I just decided that was not a behaviour I wanted to practice anymore. I also observed that my phone was my twitch. It was easy enough to reach out and start some “doom scrolling”. This post “How My Digital Lifestyle is Changing” brings the definition of “doom scrolling” which I found interesting. So, yeah, my digital lifestyle is changing as well.

And every time we stop doing an addictive behaviour we better have a substitute. A more fulfilling one. Cal Newport in his book “Digital Minimalism” says that if we white-knuckle through a “digital declutter” without substituting the old behaviour with a better one, we will go back to the old behaviour. And social media, specifically, are basically a replacement for social interaction. We think it will fulfill our “social bucket” but then we are caught up in its addictive algorithms and the quality social connection we expected is not there. Cal Newport suggests that we need to think about high quality leisure activities to replace the time we would have spent otherwise (like doom scrolling).

For me, reading, writing, long walks with my partner and yoga were my substitutes last month. I fulfilled the social part of the equation by engaging with my city's local science-fiction and fantasy book club. They've been having virtual meet-ups since the pandemic started. I attended one meeting yesterday and had lots of fun! Since I'm an introvert I don't crave a whole lot of social interaction, so that was the perfect cup of tea.

After I felt I was disengaged enough from the scrolling addictive behaviour, I started exploring the Fediverse to see how it was different from the major social media platforms. I have a Mastodon account now. At first I thought I would fall into the same old doom scrolling pattern, but since it's decentralized and it doesn't have the ads/news monetizing cycle, I don't feel the addictive pull. I access it on my own terms and it doesn't create that craving or FOMO feeling for me. I'll keep on experimenting.

I just saw this video today by The Minimalists that I think gets to one of the main issue with social media, and it is by design. Food for thought.

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #internet #noisymusings #deletefacebook #digitalminimalism

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

My process to delete these social media accounts has a timeline. It was not overnight.

Delete Facebook - Jan 10, 2021

Being aware

I've been thinking about the attention economy and social media addiction since at least 2016.

I created my Facebook account in 2009. After Facebook introduced the bottomless scrolling newsfeed with companies advertising inside the platform, I started to get annoyed by it. But at the same time I developed an addiction to it. I remember that feeling of logging in to Facebook and scrolling for a couple hours only to realize it was a waste of time. But everybody I knew was (is) there: high school friends, friends I made at a training course in Sweden, family, co-workers, bloggers, etc. This was before the Cambridge Analytica scandal but I remember seeing those “personality polls” they used to get information. I don't think I ever clicked on those, but they were everywhere.

Trying to remove distractions but still using it

I decided to get rid of Facebook's feed by “unfollowing” everyone I knew. This was before there were plugins or extensions that could hide your entire timeline. Then I used plugins extensively to avoid the feed and all the ads. I was only interested in participating in some Groups that organized local meet-ups, for example. So I used tricks to only see the Groups when I logged in and avoided all the other distracting things on the page.

Long story short, all those strategies weren't getting to the core of the problem. I started to join more groups and I was still checking Facebook every day, several times a day.

Read more...

💾For a complete summary list of my blog posts grouped by year, click here.

🎈 Things I write about :

Sections:

🎨 #NoisyMusings: a little bit of everything 📂 #Productivity: organization, methods, apps, GTD 📚 #Books: everything book related

Some Topics:

#apps | #Nirvana (the app, not the band) | #Todoist | #GTD | #MSTodo | #notes | #journal | #journaling #BookReview | #ReadingList | #Reading | #ReaderGoals | #BookWyrm | #TheStorygraph | #weeknotes | #podcast | #GTDnotes | #100DaysToOffload

#internet | #socialmedia | #attentionresistance #minimalism | #digitalminimalism #outdoors | #Hiking | #winter | #iceskating | #music | #heavymetal | #puzzle

In these days of misinformation, fake news and click baits it's good to have some initiatives to teach us how to navigate this messy digital information ocean (or hell...).

And Crash Course – Navigating Digital Information is an excellent way to learn about media literacy. The host is John Green, also known as the author of the novel “The fault in our stars” who, along with his brother, Hank Green, has this more than 10-years-old YouTube channel (Vlogbrothers).

Navigating Digital Information is a 10-episode series that was developed in partnership with the Poynter Institute Media Wise project based on research form the Stanford History Education Group.

The series covers topics like: – Lateral reading and fact checking – How to use Wikipedia (and how it is awesome!) – How to evaluate photos and videos – How to read charts and graphics (and how to be critical about them!) – How to know who to trust online.

I highly recommend this series to everyone that uses the Internet, no matter the age.

#crashcourse #digitalinformation #medialiteracy #internet

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