While I was chasing storms a couple of weeks ago (and driving hundreds of miles across Texas), I listened to some podcasts. I’m not an avid podcast listener; my interest in the art waxes and wanes as much as the moon, just on a slower timeline. But along the way I discovered Cal Newport’s podcast “Deep Questions” and I found it fascinating.
I’m eager to read Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism”. Lately, and this week in particular, I have found being online to be overwhelming. There’s a lot going on in the world: the endless war in the Ukraine, the debt ceiling fiasco, the upcoming presidential elections, in addition to the usual idiocy that’s celebrated by society these days. I needed to find a way to calm down the noise. I especially needed to find a way to quiet the noise in my head.
I (mostly) left Twitter months ago when Elon Musk took over the platform. I still have my aviation/storm chasing account over there but I rarely look at it. I don’t like having the application on any of my devices because it just mines endless amounts of data. Same with Facebook and Instagram. I don’t need the datamining in my pocket. I do, however, like to know what’s going on with family and friends via Facebook and I like sharing and enjoying photos once in a while.
In this video by Cal Newport, he talks about focusing on “Digital Minimalism”, not “Digital Elimination”. There’s good content in the algorithmically supported applications out there. The trick is to minimize the distractions while you’re there.
For the Mac, I recently discovered a Safari extension called Social Focus. It’s worth the $1.99 price tag and it looks like the options will do much of what I’m looking for this sort of thing to do. Here’s my options for Facebook:
Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox all have similar extensions available; a quick search revealed “Social Fixer” for those browsers.
In the past I’ve talked about 30 day challenges I’ve given myself; these are month long odysseys to try to improve my life in some way. For the month of June I’m focusing on “Digital Minimalism” in two ways: ridding my iPhone of anything with “infinite scrolling”, especially the social media apps, and using social media in a responsible way with the Social Focus extension in Safari making things a little more sane.
I’m also very interested in purchasing Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism”, however, I want a physical copy. I think I’m going to go to one of the locally owned bookstores this coming weekend to see if it’s available.