Internet I've enjoyed you a lot, you have been great. Though for a long while some corporations and neurotic mentalities have been transforming you to a mind-drug.
Computers, you are great at what you do, for that I'm grateful. But some thought it would be better for us humans to delegate our prioritisation to mortal's algorithms instead of our mind's natural intelligence.
It was easy to fall for, thanks to hype and initial excitement. It's hard to escape, thanks to the pleasant distraction the net can be, especially in an age where time deprivation & "social mobility" hinders socialising in person.
Instant streams and subscribing (following), as a baseline interaction style, are dysfunctional to say the least. They proliferate as my interests change, they keep piling up as I'm moving on. Streams won't let us forget, as it is natural for us humans to do, and then we feel guilty about all the "would haves" and "should haves". These distractions obscure the urgent truth, that we are time deprived, overcommitted and lured into things we don't truly wish to be in. This attention-economy trend has even infected the community developed services.
What would happen to our lives if all of our distraction-services were taken away? How would we change our priorities and decisions?
I'd like to consolidate the use of internet to a small deliberate part of my week. And I want to be free to select the best periods based on mood, weather, people and other natural priorities. To conserve the earth's and my energy.
My approach is based on appreciating when to have information "pushed" and "pulled":
* What's "pushed" to me has to be absolutely minimised to what is relevant or intended for me. Note that we change in ways mortal algorithms don't understand, so don't trust them. * What I "pull" has to be based on my deliberate and authentic inspirations and needs.
Therefore, I shall carefully scrutinise my internet tools based on the above. My preferred tools at the moment are email, xmpp and search engines.
Email can be *pushed* and *pulled*. Anyone with my address can send something to me (push), so I must try my outmost to only subscribe or give my address to those who understand my interests and respect my time. But by being selective about when I check my inbox and the subjects, I can be selective about what is "pulled" in my attention.
I love that it's: * ubiquitous: almost everyone using the internet is likely to have one, more so than any other type of account. * low tech, low resources: been around since 60s-70s. * asynchronous: I don't have to be online the same time as the other person * the closest to next most popular messaging technology, letters.
Some have a bad impression about email, probably because it seems too formal and disciplined, perhaps because it reminds them of corporate or commercial culture. Nonsense.. use it how you like it, it's no different than any social system: messages sent to recipients.
There is no obligation to reply to all emails, or to write long emails, or reply any time soon. Use it the best way it suits you. (Though you should consider disabling HTML and not quoting the whole previous message without good reason... we have a planet to save 😄) I shall write separate how-to text on this.
Instant messaging & presence
Being instantly and globally available is a very powerful and thus dangerous form of messaging pushed my way. Compounded by the fact that it tends to not have subjects (threads of discussion), it means being exposed to any form of strong impulses we humans have to be distracted.
Paradoxically people prefer instant messaging to get to others, but not when others are getting to them.
So it's important to consider: who, when and where. We naturally consider these factors when considering to meet someone to talk with, but it's getting lost on computer-mediated chat systems.
Generally, I'd rather allow my presence to be known and to receive instant messages to those who understand me and my life style, basically those I can trust to not abuse this medium.
It's also fine for anyone who is in a chat room I'm participating. XMPP is great in that most public rooms won't share your address, only your name, so for one to contact you from a room you have to be in the room.
Also it's important to be online for a small consolidated part of the day to avoid fragmenting the mind. So I shant linger in rooms if I'm not available to chat and I strongly disagree with the trend to be always online, present and available for anyone to interrupt or to leave my device participating in a room that I will never attend our of fear of missing out. It wastes resources and misleads anyone joining the room as to who is actually present and their odds of interaction.
Keyboard! Chatting from a mobile excruciates me after several short messages, so that is how far I like going on a mobile. Further more, if I'm not on a keyboard then I was probably intending to do somethng else and I shouldn't be interrupted.
Websites & search engines
Everything else should be pulled by me as and when it occurs to me and deemed a worthy venture.
Surfing is fun, but I find the web full of attention-traps. Start with a great idea for something to explore and end-up doing somethng else completely unintended. This would be ok if done a few times a year, but certainly not daily.
So I reckon it's worth deliberating about what's needed, how to get it and how much time it should take. Then as you summon the spirit of the computer by pressing the wake-up button, keep in mind your purpose and intention. Conserve the fragile attention, by keeping that deliberation strong in the mind and search and explore only what is relevant. Pull only what you seek by using search engines to get precise results, avoiding websites bloated by distractions.
I've felt the urge to branch into something.. I let it go. If it's important to me, it will arise again naturally and spontaneously as this is how true needs work.
Use [bookmarked web-surfing] to keep your discoveries handy, but don't use tabs or bookmarks to remind your self of what you used to wish. We are *meant to forget* to make space for next moment and to move on to where we need to be. If we truly wish something we won't forget it.
[bookmarked web-surfing]: <https://notes.orbitalfox.eu/bookmarked-web-surfing.html>
Every other medium I've come to used, turned out to be inefficient. I will toy with them, but they are staying out of my device's process list, until they satisfy my requirements.