Sometimes it’s too much. The internet, that is. It’s loud and noisy and scattered. I find my focus so split that focus is no longer the right word. The foundations of focus necessary to work on major projects—the kind that benefit from stretches of uninterrupted work—are sapped by countless small shifts in attention. These shifts aren’t always because of the internet, but they play a major role.
So I’m taking a break.
From now (November 22) until the end of the year, I’m logging out of Twitter and will only be checking Facebook intermittently. Stepping back from two media may not seem like much, but these two are the primary distractions in my life. Often, it’s not even these sites but the content linked from them that pulls me away. But rarely is that content chosen by me—it’s fed to me by some (admittedly astute) algorithms. I don’t want the algorithms to rule anymore, and certainly not the algorithms of platforms designed to keep us trapped within them.
I want to be more intentional about the words I spend my time reading. While I’ll miss many of the voices I get to hear via Twitter, I’m equally able to seek them via other channels.
I’m not going underground during this break. I’ll still be using messaging applications, though I’ll check them less frequently (and I disable notifications). If there’s an urgent need to talk with me, you can email me or text me (email me for my number).
In my site’s first essay, I addressed many concerns similar to these. To paraphrase from that piece, I’m now taking a little break from the river, in favour of the various projects in my garden.